Monday, April 4, 2016

Words for Class of 2016

It is really funny that despite being a member of the legal profession, I always get bullied, and I am so weak I couldn't counter the stance against me. Worst, this frequent and incessant bullying made me somehow permissive and strangely obedient. Last night, I was again got caught by bullies and forced to give an extemporaneuos speech before the UEP College of Law graduating class of 2016. I was able to record my impromptu peice and here it is. 

Guests, honorees, ladies and gentlemen, good evening!

Please forgive me if I may not be able to give you a well-researched, scholarly peice tonight because I was never informed that I would be a part of the program. Only at the onset that one of the hosts told me that the faculty are set to share their words of challenge and encouragement to the graduating class. 

Sensing that I am in great danger for being embarrassed before these highly intellectual people due to coming here unprepared, I immediately texted my wife to prepare me a short talk. She then responded swiftly and very concisely, thus she said and I quote, "Nanu na? Hain ka na? Dire ka pa mauli?" I surmised my speechwriter, my wife, also came in unprepared, and worst, not only confrontational but somehow irrational. So that now as I have said earlier, I have to beg for your indulgence if won't be able to satisfy your ears.

You know, what I would be saying here tonite would all be useless for you because words would never be enough to overcome your anxiety today and onwards until the release of the results of the 2016 bar exam. But we are just hoping that the insights we give here could somehow help you ease the pain. I and the other members of the faculty here have encountered the same feeling, so we knew what you were going through.

I assume y'all were here when the college invited us in a testimonial dinner after we easily passed the bar, so that you may have already heard the accounts of my struggle and the secrets weapons that I finally revealed. Nanu na ngani adto?

As i have told you, I armed myself with three secret weapons in slaying the bar exam dragon: 1.) prayers; 2.) hardwork; and 3.) karma. Let us not however discuss each of these weapons and how I harnessed and eventually used them. Bahala na kayo diyan! As what Justice Paras told us, These are all self-explanatory.

Though these weapons were proven to be dragon slayers, if i may just add another chakra, a hero trait, one which most of the lawyers have equipped themselves upon assumption of their duties as officers of the court.

Confidence!" Do not leave this virtue at home. Bring this always to the review and to the bar exam.

What is confidence? In legal practice, it is simply and commonly called "Yabs!"... Yabang! Fill your mind and heart with hope and courage. Make "I can do it! I will pass the bar!" your mantra. Get inspiration from us. Make me your inspiration. If I was able to make it, then how would you not? Realize that you are far better than me or any of our professors here. If we did it, there is no doubt you can also make it.

In parting, please accept my congratulations! I expect you all to be back next year for the testimonial dinner with you sharing your experiences to your underclassmen, not as a student of this college, not as an alumnus, but as a member of the bar.

Try to harness your weapons and build your wall of confidence so you may be able to slay your bar exam dragon.

Thank you and again congratulations!

Monday, December 7, 2015

A Way to Celebrate Human Rights and Education Month

I am very grateful for this opportunity to once again speak before you my dear students and teachers of this beloved school. I accepted this invitation not because I am a worthy guest who could give a scholarly discussion on the subject but foremost because it really is my passion to share something I have learned, experienced or understood. In fact I am very much excited as again, I would be able to exercise one of my human rights, my freedom of speech. Thanks for reaching me out.

Today we celebrate the Human Rights Month. The United Nations declared the 10th of December as the Human Rights Day for this day in 1948 was the day when the UN General Assembly codified and inked the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which declared that the “Human Rights is the foundation of freedom, justice and peace,” and which paved the way to an insurmountable amount of progress against prejudice and discrimination.

The best way to celebrate Human Rights month is to take time to understand what exactly this codified set of freedoms does for you. Studying and researching it is a way to honor the work and lives that went into making sure this document came to exist for the good of all mankind.

Bago itong declaration of Human Rights, during World War II, there were four basic goals stated by the Allies, that every man and woman should know and experience. They spoke of four freedoms: Freedom of Speech (malayang pananalita), Freedom of Religion (kalayaan sa paniniwala), Freedom from fear (kalayaan mula sa takot), and Freedom from want (Kalayaan mula sa kahirapan). These ideas were set in place and upheld, but as was made clear by the atrocities committed by Hitler and others fascists, they were woefully insufficient to guarantee and enforce the freedoms they represented. So it came to pass in December of 1948 that the United Nations General Assembly put forth 30 articles that cover everything from rights to education, freedom, health, and more. Since this event these articles have served to help protect civilians in time of war or dictatorship, to help bring POW’s home, and to ensure that people everywhere are allowed to live in liberty and safety.

The theme this morning is very much appropriate and relevant. Napag-uugnay ito lalo na’t kasalukuyang pinag-uusapan sa buong Pilipinas ang pagtakbo ni Mayor Duterte at Bongbong Marcos sa pinakamataas na katungkulan sa pamahalaan. Forgive me for having to connect them to the subject but every time their names are mentioned, one thing normally crossed my mind: HUMAN RIGHTS. I hope you already get what I meant because I wouldn’t want to elaborate on it further.

Para po sa kaalaman ng lahat, throughout history there have been instances of wanton cruelty, and a blatant violation of the rights and privileges of mankind. Whether that was based on the color of one’s skin, their nationality, religion, or merely being unfortunate enough to be living under the regime of another country, people have regularly been treated like animals, or worse. Human Rights Month is here to remind us of that day in 1948 when the UN codified the basic human rights of every individual on the planet.
This month also marked the foundation of the Department of Education, which was established on December 20, 1863, by virtue of the Educational Decree of 1863, so that it would also be right to celebrate the same, for if not for the establishment of the educational system in the country, wala siguro ni isa man sa atin ang nandito ngayon.
However, let me give emphasis more on issue with regard to Human Rights. But what is human rights? What comprises of human rights? How are human rights protected in this country and internationally? How is human rights connected with education? Ito’y iilan lamang sa mga katanungan na maaaring manatili sa ating mga isipan bilang mag-aaral o guro. A very popular phrase, but what do we really understand of HUMAN RIGHTS?

Karapatang pantao. The basic rights and freedoms to which all humans are considered to be entitled. Inherent in all persons, from conception to birth until after our death, these rights are guaranteed not only by our laws but by the law of nations as well. Hindi ito binibili, hindi hinihingi, sa halip ito’y nakaugnay na sa atin simula sa ating pagkabuhay, o bago pa man tayo isilang hanggang sa kamatayan at lampas pa duon. Kaya nga po me dabate sa RH Law dahil sa pangangalaga ng karapatang pantao ng mga sanggol o mga hindi pa isinisilang.

We may never be cognizant of it but all of us must know and understand our basic rights. Pero anu-ano nga ba ito? Napakarami po, napakalawak po, at nakadikit sa kahit na napakaliit na mga gawain ang ating mga karapatang pantao.

Basic to our human rights are our right to life, right to liberty and right to property. Pinananagutan ng ating Saligang Batas at ng Pandaigdigang Kalipunan ng mga Bansa ang mga karapatang pantaong ito.

Right to life. Karapatang mabuhay. Kasama rito ang karapatan ng mga sanggol na ipanganak at mabuhay. Karapatan ng mga bata na mabigyan ng pagkain, mapag-aral at makapagsalamuha sa lipunan. Ngunit hindi lamang mga bata ang may karapatang mabuhay. Right to life does not identify any age, race, sex, civil status or financial standing. Lahat tayo sa mundo ay may karapatang mabuhay, bata-matanda, babae-lalake, me asawa o wala, me trabaho o wala, mahirap-mayaman. Walang pinipili ang pagkakaroon ng karapatang pantao.

Hindi nga ba’t pinatigil pagpapatupad ng Death Penalty dahil sa pagpapatibay ng karapatang ito? Hindi nga ba’t mahigpit na pinagbawal ang pang-aalipin o pagbebenta ng mga alipin? Hindi nga ba’t may mga batas na itinakda para protektahan ang buhay? Kaya nga po may paglilitis, kaya nga po may husgado, kasi ito ay pagbibigay-halaga sa buhay. Ito ay pagpapatunay na walang karapatan ang sinuman na kunin ang buhay ng isang tao kahit gaano pa man siya kasama hangga’t walang paglilitis na patas at walang kinikilingan. Extrajudicial killings, summary executions, salvaging are violations of right to life, violations of human rights.

Right to liberty. Karapatang maging malaya. You cannot be detained or imprisoned without due process of law. Walang karapatan ang sinuman na ikulong ang kanyang kapwa kung walang dahilan at walang paglilitis. This is the reason why the law penalizes illegal detention at kidnapping. This is the reason why we have courts, upang litisin ang mga may sala. We cannot just send or drag criminals to prison. Why? Because everyone is entitled to his right to liberty or freedom.

Kasama sa mga karapatang ito ay ang ating iba pang karapatan tulad ng Freedom of expression (karapatang magsalita), freedom of the press (karapatan sa pamamahayag), Freedom of association (karapatang makipag-ugnayan), right to travel and abode (karapatang maglakbay at magkaroon ng tirahan) at marami pang iba.

Right to property. Karapatan sa pagmamay-ari. Who among you here wants his property taken for no reason at all? Kaya nga po the law penalizes theft, pagnanakaw, corruption. This is to protect our right to property. Corruption is a form of violation of human rights, particularly of our right to property, don’t you know that? Why? Because we have a government of the people. The Philippine Government is owned by the Filipino People, so that anyone who takes away or plunders the property of the people should be held responsible.

Included in this right is the right of suffrage o ang karapatang bomoto. Sa pagboto, pumipili tayo ng ating mga pinuno na mangangalaga ng ating pamahalaan, who will protect our property in the government.

There are a litany of human rights but if we would be discussing each of them right now, we would be spending too much time and I will already be violating your right to attend your classes or to have some rest.

But let me discuss a very relevant subject. Very relevant to you now is your right to education. Karapatang makapag-aral, matuto at mabigyang-kaalaman. This is the reason why the government spends budget for free basic education. Libreng pag-aaral sa elementary at highschool. Libre po ang edukasyon mula elementarya hanggang highschool. Maaaring kulang ang mga pantugon ng pamahalaan sa mga karapatang ito, ngunit kahit sa maliit na paraan, ito ay pagpapatunay lamang na dapat pahalagahan ang ating karapatan sa edukasyon.Sa pagpapalakas ng karapatang ito. Public elementary and high schools are probihited to reject enrolees for any reason, it may be because of failure to pass entrance examinations, overcrowding or others. Walang karapatan ang mga pampublikong paaralan sa elementarya at sekondarya na tanggihan ang sinumang gustong magpatala. Any violation of this is an actionable wrong and would subject the administrator to certain sanctions. Kailangang gawan ng paraan na pagbigyan at tanggapin ang mag-aaral.

However, but, datapwat, ngunit, subalit, may kasabihan, ani Uncle Ben ni Spiderman, “With great power comes great responsibility.” Napakalawak man ating mga karapatan, lahat ng ito ay may kaakibat na responsibilidad o tungkulin. Every right must be exercised with due respect to the rights of others. Any abuse in the exercise of these rights are considered violations of the rights of others. Dire la kit mapatunga sa ato mga katungod, because other people around us have their human rights also. Yes, yaon ka katungod magkanta saim videosinco, pero dire karuyag sidngon na puede ka magngalngal mag-aga hasta makapurisaw saim mga higripid, because by that you are already violating the right of your neighbours to have a good sleep.

So that, if you have the right to education, you also have the responsibility to study. You have to make sure that you exercise you right fully and responsibly. The government spends for your education so much, don’t let that expense go in vain, because you are actually violating the right to property of the people who pay taxes, from where this budget for education are being drawn.

With these I would like to end by saying, “Learn and harness your human rights, exercise them but with fairness, justice and with due regard to the rights of your fellowmen. #

Thank you and good day.

Saturday, June 13, 2015

An IBP Affair

The Integrated Bar of the Philippines-Northern Samar Chapter conducted a 3-legged affair just this afternoon. Being a new member of the IBP, I was invited to deliver a testimonial on my experiences, on how I did pass the Bar. I was challenged, so I willingly accepted it. Now, please do  me a favor, and take time to read. Here it goes...

"Good evening, Your Honors, Counsels, may I respectfully enter my appearance as a new member of IBP-Northern Samar Chapter."

Forgive me but I don't want to speak anymore about the 2014 Bar Exams. Even with the suggestion of the sitting Chapter President Atty. Cuyco that I give a "reload" of the testimonial I made during the opening of his review center, I am very sorry but really I cannot give in to his request. However, I am very much willing to tell you another story.

During our childhood or grade school days, i am very sure that almost all of us here had been asked about what to become someday. One upon a time in my life, when I was in grade 1, we were asked by one of my teachers. “What is your ambition? What do you want to become when you grow up?” The most common answers of my classmates then, especially the boys, were to become a pilot, a soldier or an engineer. Most of the girls would like to become a teacher or a bank employee. My classmates roared in laughter when I answered, “I want to become a magician.” My teacher wondered and asked, “Seriously? Tell my why? Do you want to change the world? Do you want to make money out of your magic?” I said, “Yes, I want to learn magic. I want to learn tricks on how to file masterfully the mah-jong tiles. I want to learn tricks on how to hide and change deck of playing cards, so I could always win in any mah-jong or card session. I want to learn tricks on how to flip “hantak” coins the right way. I want to gamble and win big through magic.” That’s how I saw the world at 6 years old. You know I grew up in this gambling neighborhood and all I saw everyday was gambling. Playing cards were our daily bread. I lived, slept and dined at the mah-jong table. I did not regret that, not because I could do nothing about it, but also because that helped me grow to what I am today.

My teacher, being so concerned about me, tried to change my view. She constantly reminded me that such was not a good dream for me. “You must become a priest instead. You must someday be called Fr. Clarence,” she said. She was constantly prodding me. And being young at that, I was persuaded, oh yeah, I said, "I should become a priest. I will be called “Father.” So to start achieving that dream I mingled first with altar boys at age 8 and became one for 10 years, serving 3 strict parish priests. However I did not forget about becoming a magician, alongside with being an altar boy, I had mastered the art of gambling, memorized the edges of our 4 mah-jong sets. Learn a lot of card tricks. I practiced my tricks using my fellow altar boys and the priests’ nephews as dummies, and as a result I easily collected their Sunday service allowances via card games. I made my personalized “Bicycle” playing card and won big during wakes or lamay. With hard work, I did become a little magician, while on the tip of becoming a priest. On one side, I had memorized novenas, as well as the sequences and recitations of religious rituals. I follow religiously and literally the footsteps of my priests.

However, when I was about to finish high school, one gambler in my neighborhood had this irritating influence on me. The late Judge Emma Balite, a professional gambler, but who suffered great defeat in my hands while I was still 15 years old, was being serious in reshaping my destiny. Almost every day and almost every time she lost, she would always tell me. “You cannot be a priest. But you can be a lawyer. There is no way you cannot be a lawyer. Enrol in law school after finishing college.” I wondered why, so I asked her. She retorted, “You will become a lawyer because your memory is good. You can even memorize your tiles. You can memorize your cards. You are good in logic, you can very well guess my next pass. Moreover, you outwit a Judge.” I did not quite understand her, so I would just answer, “OK I will try, are you gonna play tomorrow, Judge?”

That constant joke of Mana Emma lingered in my mind. Why wouldn’t I try becoming a lawyer? So, by the next school year, I found myself enrolling in political science class. I graduated from college. However, things became more complicated because after graduation, or even years before that, I had already felt that becoming a father was more of a reality than becoming a lawyer. The girls’ feelings were always mutual. I could not anymore contain it, so that the feelings won over ambition. But I was never out of track of my listed dreams. I did follow my teacher’s dream for me. Instantly, I became Fr. Clarence. I became a father to my three gorgeous children.” I hit two birds with one stone, right?

A few years into family life, I spoke with my wife. “Can I still be a lawyer?” And she would just answer, “You will have your chance. You can follow your dream but first never forget your responsibilities.” That being the case, I construed her word "chance" as one that was synonymous with the word "wait." I believed, I couldn’t make it now, so I contemplated a 15-year goal then. After 10 years I said, I will enroll in law school. So, that happened. 2009, I was in first year. A year after, I quit, but you know, this ambition won over feelings. I continued after I took a leave for one year and here I am. Still, the feeling is mutual.

I know my story was boring, because all of you here have much more exciting stories to tell. I am sorry but I have the floor so it is me at this moment who have the honor to tell and retell my life. You may reject it, but honestly all I want to share is the lesson I learned from my journey to the IBP, and also to warn you that once in my life I became a magician.

I have learned that there is no harm in dreaming, and in trying to reach your dream. I know my good friend and coach Attorney Albert Yruma always dreamed of walking straight (he is a folio victim being confined to his wheelchair), so he may reach far places. He may not be aware of it but he has already walked straight. Look at him, a straight family man, straight legal professional, and someday a straight and righteous judge. Moreover, pag lasing na kami, siya na lang talaga ang straight maglakad, lahat kami hindi na maayos yung lakad namin. I know my good friend and mentor Atty. Jonathan Loberio has dreamed of having a child, we may not be aware of it but he may already has fathered a child. Oi Sir, ha? (Joke lang) No. Really, as Dean Marlon  always reminds us and I quote, "There is nothing in this world that is impossible. For the word impossible could only be found in the dictionary." Let us therefore continue to dream but just make sure to wake up. Sleep with emergency kits then.

In closing, I want to thank everyone here, my IBP family for welcoming me to your club. I know you have no better choice. To the Honorable Judges and Prosecutors, please forgive my errors, I am a new lawyer you know, and you all know that court litigation was never the focus during law school. To my fellow lawyers, especially if you happen to be my opponent in court, please, please do not take advantage of my being a neophyte. I must admit I have so many flaws. I have so many lessons still to be learned, and I do not know everything yet with respect to the intricacies of court practice. Please to all of you here, please, be calm, I am a new lawyer. 

Thank you and I love you all."

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Juristsbar: The Best Bar Review Center Ever

When I graduated from law school, I really had doubts. I always looked at the mirror asking myself if I was ready to take the bar. I couldn't help it but smile while recalling on how messy my preparations were. My four years law proper was more than just a roller coaster ride, I almost quit after I took a leave from school for a year. You could just imagine how painful it was for me to take up law while being a full-time employee of one of the most demanding GOCCs in PH, while being a full-time husband and a full-time parent to my 3 kids, plus a full-time guidance counselor to my 5 siblings. I was thinking I should get it double big time in my review to be able to make it to the bar.

But such doubts were replaced by hopes just moments after I attended my first Jurists lecture. That was when Jurists made me feel and claim the phrases “I belong!” and “I can make it!” Big thanks to my Jurists Family. The lecturers were superb, exceptional, and updated. The schedule was great and suited very nicely to the demands of breeze-through reviewees like me. The coaches were nice, well-trained and straight to the point. The mock bar questions were “hard” and very challenging, some of them even appeared in the bar (Thanks again). The management and staff were very accommodating, and cute.

And such hopes turned into confidence and some certainty, after the pre-bar lecture series. Not to mention how hair-raising the predictions of Hon. Manny Riguera and Atty. Carlo Cruz were. 

Words then could never describe how helpful Jurists was in making me nail the 2014 Bar Exam. Words still could never define how thankful I was in having Jurists as my bar exam buddy. Anybody could dispute my statements about Jurists, but before you do it, taste first the Jurists method, and look at the results.

Congratulations to my Jurists Family! I belong!

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Slaying the Bar Exam Dragon: My Secret Weapons

For me, passing the bar proved nothing of my worth yet. It did not prove anything about my study habit, my discipline, the number of books that I've read, the string of cases I have digested or the measure of laws and principles that I have learned from law school or during review. It proved nothing, except for two things: first, The Power of Prayer; and second, perhaps I have proven before my wife that I did not do anything dirty while I was alone reviewing at the big city.

The bar exam or taking the bar exam is not that hard as first takers like me normally think. But passing it, is the real measure of how hard it really is. I keep with me three secret weapons which helped me nail it. Secrets which, I feel, are ought to be shared. Simple, hard, maybe.. but doable. These are...
  1. Prayers (dasal-dasal din pag may time)
  2. Hardwork (basa-basa din minsan); and
  3. Karma.
Prayers really do wonders. In Matthew Chapter 17 Verse 20, the Holy Bible states, “Our faith can move mountains.” It really did for me. There should be no space for any doubt, not even reasonable doubt. Faith. This is what kept me hanging from day one until the release of the results.

I don't know if it will work for you, my future barristers, but what I want to share with you, which you may try right after reading this and before going to bed, worked well for me. My prayers were definitely of single subject, I didn't juggle up all the things I wanted and asked from the Lord. Isa-isa lang, baka kasi malito si Bro, hindi nya tuloy maintidihan ang gusto ko. And then sa prayers pa lang, brinaso ko na talaga! Ok, Listen! I said to God, always, after thanking Him and asking for forgiveness for my petty sins, “Lord, let me pass the bar, the 2014 bar, and no other bar. I really need to pass this bar because I can never take a second chance. Of course, you see my sacrifices and hardwork, and the sacrifices my family has made just for me to pursue this. I do not want to give them another damn whole year of agony, and I hope you understand. I am determined to pass this with all your help, and I will never repeat it. Never. Thank you, Lord, for listening.” Yun lang... and the Lord replied, “Who U?” … Really, never underestimate the power of prayer. Praise the Lord! Amen? Amen.

Aside from prayers, of course, hardwork. How dare you ask the Lord for help when you yourself did not even bother lift a single page of the SCRA. Nobody would notice but, despite of my being a full-time employee, full-time husband, full-time parent to my children, and a working student with full-load courses, I managed to read all my books from cover to cover, not only once but thrice. I digested cases myself, although not all of those assigned by Sir Bobby, but most of the digested cases I submitted were my sole work, and I never copied them, except for some, of course, who ain't copyin' here anyway. I memorized what needs to be understood. I almost did memorize the whole Rules of Court, the Constitution and the Tax Code... almost during the review. I researched for latest laws and jurisprudence and digested them even if not required. I tried to refine my penmanship during the review, but unfortunately, the raw unrefined one suddenly appeared in my booklets during the bar. But I was not surprised because I have already heard of this phenomenon, and I have formulated a secret but effective remedy for it, so that I just added a line in my prayers telling the Lord to grant the examiners peaceful and accepting mind and let them read my answers notwithstanding the unsightliness of my writings.

So look now, I am starting to believe that hardwork really pays off.

Finally, Karma. I really am not a fan of the Golden Rule, which states, “Do unto others what you would want others do unto you.” Anu yun, pag nang-rape ka, rereypin ka din? Ang saya-saya naman nun, di ba? Pag nakabuntis ka at tinakbuhan mo, mabubuntis ka din at tatakbuhan ka? Parang ang sagwa naman din, di ba?

Karma, the law of moral causation, the principle which teaches us that good intent and good deed contribute to good karma and good fortune and future hapiness, while bad intent and bad deed contribute to bad karma and future suffering. Sabi pa sa books ni Justice Paras, “This is self-explanatory!” But let me explain how I did it and how karma returned back the favor.

Truly, as I've said earlier, I did not do anything dirty during my studies, during the review, and even before or after that. You know, the metropolis is such a huge ricefield, filled with full-grown rice just waiting to be reaped and picked up, so I tried hard not to transform myself into a chicken. Maraming palay, kaya busog na busog sana ang manok. Tuka dito, tuka dun. But I never did that. I was never persuaded. Sabi pa ni Lebron James, “Not once, not twice, not thrice..” Never. And the Lord saw all that, and Karma felt all that. Restraint, discipline, karma. Bad deeds beget bad karma. So what did I get? Good karma, of course, which means that...? You're all principled and intelligent law students, you very well know the answer.

Good deeds beget good fortune. Do you still remember Article 19 of the Civil Code, “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.” Self-explanatory. But then again, let me explain. My explanation though, may be far away from what the law means. Anyway, just listen.

Share what you have. Help those who are in need. Give justice to everything you do. Back at law school, I never hesitated to share what I know, what I have learned and what I have. Kaya nga I got the “Uber Award” during our hooding exercises because I had the over-confidence to share to everyone in the class what I learned. I blogged my digested cases for the consumption of those who need them. Sino ba dito ang nagbabasa ng “School of Ants” or ng “Memoirs of the Colony?” Sorry ha, pero ako po yun, the Commander of the Red Army Ants. Dinaygest ko po ang mga cases dun, and it always elates me to hear law students fest on my blog and copy them in toto and submit them to Judge Rosadiño, Atty. Sison, and Atty. Figueroa. But what were I thinking in doing that? Karma.

'Wag ka din masyadong pala-away, or if you have done something wrong to someone, ask for forgiveness, even if that someone wouldn't let you off. And if somebody asks for your forgiveness, pagbigyan nyo na kaagad. Kasi alam nyo, Karma...

And you know what? When you always do good things, pag mabait ka, every person who knows you, prays for your success. Inaabangan ka at ipinagdarasal na sana pumasa ka. Hindi naman po ako masyadong mabait, but as much as possible, I always try to do good. Ganun lang naman po kasimple yun.

One more thing. Don't be ashamed to tell your friends and relatives an nag-bar ka. Don't hide and be too concerned of what they will say in case you won't make it. Because most likely, your friends and relatives will include you in their prayers and intentions if they know that you are in it. Para bang pag tataya ka sa Lotto, dapat i-share mo din number combination mo, para maraming nagpe-pray na sana lumabas yung mga numero mo.

Those were just the things I kept before, during and after the bar. I lived and dined with them. And I know me is doing it right, because I already saw the result. Let thus these secret weapons be revealed, shared and nurtured. Share the word. Share the weapons, and let everyone slay his own dragon, the bar exam.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Digested Cases in Labor Law

CALALANG v. WILLIAMS, 70 PHIL 726, GR No. 47800, December 2, 1940
FACTS:  The National Traffic Commission resolved that animal-drawn vehicles be prohibited from passing along some major streets such a Rizal Ave. in Manila for a period of one year from the date of the opening of the Colgante Bridge to traffic. The Secretary of Public Works approved the resolution on August 10,1940. The Mayor of Manila and the Acting Chief of Police of Manila have enforced the rules and regulation. As a consequence, all animal-drawn vehicles are not allowed to pass and pick up passengers in the places above mentioned to the detriment not only of their owners but of the riding public as well.
ISSUE:  Does the rule infringe upon the constitutional precept regarding the promotion of social justice? What is Social Justice?
HELD:  No. The regulation aims to promote safe transit and avoid obstructions on national roads in the interest and convenience of the public. Persons and property may be subject to all kinds of restraints and burdens in order to secure the general comfort, health, and prosperity of the State. To this fundamental aims of the government, the rights of the individual are subordinated.
Social justice is “neither communism, nor despotism, nor atomism, nor anarchy,” but the humanization of laws and the equalization of social and economic forces by the State so that justice in its rational and objectively secular conception may  at least be approximated. Social justice means the promotion of the welfare of all the people, the adoption by the Government of measures calculated to insure economic stability of all the competent elements of society, through the maintenance of a proper economic and social equilibrium in the interrelations of the members of the community, constitutionally, through the adoption of measures legally justifiable, or extra-constitutionally, through the exercise of powers underlying the existence of all governments on the time-honored principles of Salus Populi est Suprema Lex.(Justice Laurel)
FACTS:  Petitioner is resident physician in a hospital in Negros Oriental, who was diagnosed of a kidney disease. After having her kidney transplant, she filed a work-related sickness compensation claim with the respondent ECC through the GSIS, which denied the same, arguing that the disease she contracted is not listed among the occupational diseases determined by them to be compensable as work-related sickness. Petitioner appealed contending that the bacteria causing the disease was contracted while being employed in the hospital since symptoms have already manifested since 1994, and relying upon the theory that her employment poses an increased risk in contracting the diseases. 
ISSUE:  Is the contention of the petitioner correct?
HELD:  Yes. In determining whether an injury or sickness is work-related or not, what the law requires is reasonable work connection, not a direct causal connection. It is observed that the WCL has not ceased to be a social legislation, hence liberality of the law in the form of the workingman or woman still prevails.
FACTS:  While being an employee of the Philippine Ports Authority, respondent was inflicted with tuberculosis, hypertension and diabetes. He then filed with the petitioner Government Service Insurance System (GSIS) a claim for compensation benefits under PD No. 626. However, petitioner denied the respondent’s claim on the ground that the ailments are not considered occupational diseases, and there is no clear evidence, such as medical records, showing that he contracted the diseases during his work or his duties have increased the risk of contracting said ailments. Petitioner rejected respondent's contention that there is probability of contracting TB with the kind of job the respondent has.
ISSUE:  How should PD 626 be applied with respect to determining compensability of work-related diseases?
HELD:  A social legislation should interpreted liberally. In applying liberality in the interpretation of Workmen's Compensation Law, the degree of proof required by the law is such relevant evidence as a reasonable mind may accept to support a conclusion. Probability, not certainty, is the touchstone. Any doubt on this matter has to be interpreted in favor of the employees considering that PD 626 is a social legislation.
FACTS: Mayor Fuguso refused to grant the petitioner and his party a permit to hold a public meeting at Plaza Miranda, based on a city ordinance which grants the mayor the discretion to regulate such conduct of public assemblies, as a lawful exercise of police power.
ISSUE:  What is police power? How was it supposed to be exercised by the Manila City Officials?
HELD:  Police Power is the power of the State to enact laws and prescribe regulations that will promote the health, morals, education, good order, safety, and general welfare of the People. However, in the exercise of police power the council may, in its discretion, regulate the exercise of such rights in a reasonable manner, but cannot suppress them, directly or indirectly, by attempting to commit the power of doing so to the mayor or any other officer. The ordinance grants the mayor the power to regulate as to how, when and where a public assembly should be held, but not the discretion to refuse the grant of such permit to derogate the right of the petitioner to peaceably assemble and seek redress against the government.
FACTS:  The Department of Labor and Employment issued an order suspending the deployment of Filipino domestic and household workers, in view of the heightened abuses committed against OFWs abroad. The petitioner, a local recruitment agency, petitioned for the invalidation of such order for alleged violation of equal protection clause.
ISSUE:  Is the deployment ban a valid exercise of police power? What is police power?
HELD:  Yes, the deployment ban of domestic helpers is a valid exercise of police power. Police Power is the inherent power of the State to enact legislation that may interfere with personal liberty and property in order to promote the general welfare.
FACTS:  Petitioner closed its industrial service unit due to alleged loss and extinct demand resulting to the termination of the employment of the respondent. The latter filed an illegal dismissal case but the same was denied by the labor arbiter, and subsequently by the NLRC contending that the same is part of the management prerogative.
ISSUE:  Has employer the right to close its business even without basis resulting to the displacement of the worker?
HELD:  No. Employers are also accorded with rights and privileges to assure their self-determination and independence and reasonable return of capital. This mass of privileges is called management prerogatives. Although they may be broad and unlimited in scope, the State has the right to determine whether an employer's privilege is exercised in a manner that complies with the legal requirements and does not offend the protected rights of labor.
FACTS:  Private respondent Estrada is a member of the respondent labor union. He did not report for work for 1 month due to a grave family problem as his wife deserted him and nobody was there to look after his children. He was required to explain. Finding his reasons to be unjustified, the petitioner terminated him, since according to company rules, absence for 6 consecutive days is considered abandonment of work.
ISSUE:  Should a worker be summarily dismissed relying on some company rules?
HELD:  No. While the employer is not precluded from prescribing rules and regulations to govern the conduct of his employees, these rules and their implementation must be fair, just and reasonable. No less than the Constitution looks with compassion on the workingman and protects his rights not only under a general statement of a state policy but under the Article on Social Justice and Human Rights, thus placing labor contracts on a higher plane and with greater safeguards. Verily, relations between labor and capital are not merely contractual. They are impressed with public interest and labor contracts must, perforce, yield to the common good.

FACTS:  Petitioners are cashiers of Isetann Department Store who were dismissed for having accumulated shortages. Petitioners admitted this in their affidavits. The labor arbiter ruled them having been illegally dismissed. The NLRC reversed the ruling.
ISSUE: Were the petitioners validly dismissed?
HELD:  Yes. The failure of the petitioners to report to the management the irregularities constitute "fraud or willful breach of the trust reposed in them by their employer or duly authorized representative"--one of the just causes of valid termination of employment. The employer cannot be compelled to retain employees who were guilty of malfeasance as their continued employment will be prejudicial to the former's best interest. The law, in protecting the rights of the employees, authorizes neither oppression nor self-destruction of the employer.

FACTS:  Private respondent Silvestre Germane did not report for work because his wife delivered their first child. He did not however notify his employer, causing a disruption in the business of the latter. When the respondent returned to work he was surprised upon knowing that someone has been hired to take his place.
ISSUE:  Was there a case of illegal dismissal?
HELD:  Yes. It appeared that the respondent was illegally dismissed. While a prolonged absence without leave may constitute as a just cause for dismissal, its illegality stems from the non-observance of due process. Applying the WenPhil Doctrine by analogy, where dismissal was not preceded by the twin requirement of notice and hearing, the illegality of the dismissal in question, is under heavy clouds and therefore illegal.
FACTS:  Respondent filed 2 petitions with the CIR: 1.) to lay off its 44 employees on the ground that the company is losing its operations, and 2.) to lease its equipment to certain individuals. Judge Roldan of the CIR, after ocular inspection, approved the petitions, thereby leaving the petitioners, if not unemployed, having nothing to do because of absence of equipment in the studios. Petitioner assailed the ruling of the judge, and appealed to the CIR en banc.
ISSUE:  Should the court grant a petition for mass dismissal without hearing the side of the employees concerned?
HELD:  No. A worker cannot be deprived of his job or his wages without due process of law. The case was then remanded to CIR for proper hearing.
CALLANTA v. CARNATION PHILS., 145 SCRA 268, G.R. No. 70615 October 28, 1986
FACTS: Upon clearance approved by the MOLE Regional Office, respondent dismissed the petitioner in June 1979. On July 1982, petitioner filed an illegal dismissal case with claim for reinstatement with the Labor Arbiter, who granted it. On appeal, the NLRC reversed the judgment based on the contention that the action by the petitioner has already prescribed, since Art. 291 & 292 of the Labor Code is expressed that offenses penalized under the Code and all money claims arising from employer-employee relationships shall be filed within 3 years from when such cause of action arises, otherwise it will be barred.
ISSUE: Is ruling of the NLRC correct?
HELD: No. It is a principle well recognized in this jurisdiction, that one's employment, profession, trade or calling is a property right, and the wrongful interference therewith is an actionable wrong. The right is considered to be property within the protection of the Constitutional guarantee of due process of law.

Verily, the dismissal without just cause of an employee from his employment constitutes a violation of the Labor Code and its implementing rules and regulations. Such violation, however, does not amount to an "offense" as understood under Article 291 of the Labor Code. In its broad sense, an offense is an illegal act which does not amount to a crime as defined in the penal law, but which by statute carries with it a penalty similar to those imposed by law for the punishment of a crime. The confusion arises over the use of the term "illegal dismissal" which creates the impression that termination of an employment without just cause constitutes an offense. It must be noted, however that unlike in cases of commission of any of the prohibited activities during strikes or lockouts under Article 265, unfair labor practices under Article 248, 249 and 250 and illegal recruitment activities under Article 38, among others, which the Code itself declares to be unlawful, termination of an employment without just or valid cause is not categorized as an unlawful practice.
DE LEON v. NLU, 100 PHIL 789
FACTS: The defendant-appellees had been picketing the Dalisay Theater owned by the plaintiff for the purpose of securing reinstatement to their respective jobs in the theater when it was run and operated by the Filipino Theatrical Enterprises (FTE), then a lessee of the parcel of land owned by plaintiff on which the theater was erected. The defendant-appellees lost their jobs upon termination of the lease contract between De Leon and the FTE, which turned over the rights  to the theater back to De Leon, the owner of the lot.
ISSUE: Has terminated employees the right to strike in this case?
HELD: Yes. Although the employees has no business with the owner of the establishment, they have nevertheless the right to peaceful picketing which applies also to cases where employer-employee relationship is absent. The picketing, a form of freedom of expression, is conducted not to disrupt the business of the owner but to appeal for a humanitarian consideration, after having been laid off due to the termination of the business of their previous employer.

FACTS: Petitioner labor union picketed against Metrobank, which is occupying an office space in the Wellington building. Wellington complained that the picketers were annoyingly blocking the common passageway of the building, the only ingress and egress being used by the occupants of the second to the sixth floors thereof as well as by their respective employees, clients and customers, so that the picket has caused a disruption of the business of Wellington as well as the other lessors in the building.
ISSUE: Does the court have the power to enjoin the picket, despite being peaceful?
HELD: Yes. The courts are vested with the power to limit the exercise of the right of peaceful picketing to parties involved in the labor dispute, or having a direct interest to the context of this issue. Wellington is a mere "innocent bystander" who is not involved in the labor dispute. Thus, they are entitled to seek protection of their rights from the courts and the courts may, accordingly, legally extend the same.

FACTS:  The picket held by defendant-appellant union against their employer prevented herein plaintiff-appellee's truck from loading and unloading of its products inside the premises of Permanent Concrete Products, where the plaintiff-appellee was occupying as a sub-lessee. Hence, the latter sought to enjoin the picket.
ISSUE:  May a picket be enjoined at the instance of a third party?
HELD:  Yes. Peaceful picketing, while being allowed as a phase of freedom of expression guaranteed by the Constitution and could not be curtailed even in the absence of employer-employee relationship, is not an absolute right. The courts are not without power to localize the sphere of demonstration, whose interest are foreign to the context of the dispute. Thus the right may be recognized at the instance of an "innocent bystander" who is not involved in the labor dispute if it appears that the result of the picketing is create an impression that a labor dispute exists between him and the picketing union.
FACTS:  Petitioner Ramos was suspended for writing the phrase "under protest" in the company payroll to object to the P1.0 deduction made by the respondent for allegedly getting P500 worth of lumber in 1964. The deduction started only in 1969, at the peak of union activities of the petitioner when several complaints of unfair labor practices were filed by the union against the respondent.
ISSUE: Is the action of the petitioner a lawful exercise of freedom of expression?
HELD: Yes. The freedom of expression is available to individual workers subject to legal limitation of industrial peace to air valid grievances. It is thus too clear from the foregoing that petitioner Ramos was justified in airing his grievances against the unauthorized and illegal deductions made by respondent company. By writing "under protest" on the company payroll, petitioner Ramos was well within the ambit of his constitutional freedom of expression as well as the right to petition against what was obviously a calculated undue harassment amounting to unfair labor practice perpetuated by respondent employer herein.
FACTS:  Stepping on the provisions of RA 3350 exempting members of religious sects which prohibit its members from joining associations, plaintiff-appellee, being of a faithful of Iglesia ni Cristo, withdrew his membership from the appellant union. The latter, who have pact a closed-shop provision in their collective bargaining agreement with respondent company sought the separation of the plaintiff-appellee. The trial court enjoined the supposed dismissal, prompting the union to assail the validity of RA 3350 particularly the provision granting exemption to members of above-mentioned sects.
ISSUE: Does the law infringe the right or freedom of labor to associate?
HELD: No. Freedom of association implies not only the right to join a labor union, but also the privilege of not joining one,  of selecting which union to join, and of disaffiliating from a union. It is clear that the assailed Act, far from infringing the constitutional provision on freedom of association, upholds and reinforces it. It does not prohibit the members of said religious sects from affiliating with labor unions. It still leaves to said members the liberty and the power to affiliate, or not to affiliate, with labor unions. If, notwithstanding their religious beliefs, the members of said religious sects prefer to sign up with the labor union, they can do so. If in deference and fealty to their religious faith, they refuse to sign up, they can do so; the law does not coerce them to join; neither does the law prohibit them from joining; and neither may the employer or labor union compel them to join.
FACTS:  Petitioner bank terminated private respondents for having written and published a "patently libelous letter tending to cause dishonor, discredit or contempt not only the officers and employees of the bank, but also their employer" by demanding the resignation of the bank president on grounds of immorality, nepotism and favoritism. CIR ruled that the petitioner's act constitutes an unfair labor practice.
ISSUE: Does the dismissal of employees airing their grievance against their employer constitute unfair labor practice?
HELD: Yes. Even assuming that respondents acted in their individual capacities when they wrote the letter, they were nonetheless protected for they were engaged in concerted activity, in the exercise of their right to self-organization that includes concerted activity for mutual aid and protection, interference with which constitutes unfair labor practice.

The petitioner should have allowed the respondents to air their grievances as a mechanism in a collective bargaining agreement. Collective bargaining... normally takes the form of negotiation when major conditions of employment to be written into an agreement are under consideration, and of grievance committee meetings and arbitration when questions arising from the administration of an agreement are at stake.
FACTS:  Petitioners went on strike after their employer SSS failed to act upon the union's demands concerning the implementation of their CBA. SSS filed an injunction contending that the petitioners are covered by Civil Service laws which prohibits employees of the government from staging a strike. SSSEA on the other hand, argued that the NLRC has the jurisdiction of the case by virtue of the provisions of the Labor Code.
ISSUE: Does the court have jurisdiction? Do employees covered by the Civil Service have the right to strike?
HELD:  On question of jurisdiction, yes. The RTC, in the exercise of its general jurisdiction under BP 129, has jurisdiction over petitioner's claim for damages and for the issuance of a writ of injunction to stop the strike, since the Labor Code do not apply to government employees.

On the right to strike of government workers, No. The Constitution provides guarantee among workers with the right to organize and conduct peaceful concerted activities. On the other hand, EO 180 provides that the Civil Service law and rules governing concerted activities in government service shall be observed subject to any legislation that may be enacted by Congress. Referring to Memo Circular No.6, s. 1987 of the CSC which states that prior to the enactment by Congress of applicable laws concerning strike by government employees, enjoins under pain of administrative sanctions, all government officials and employees from staging a strike, demonstrations, mass leaves, walk-outs and other forms of mass action which will result in temporary stoppage or disruption of public service, the court ruled that in the absence of any legislation allowing government employees to strike, they are therefore prohibited from doing so.

GARCIA v. PAL, GR 164856, Jan. 20, 2009

FACTS: PAL filed an administrative case against Garcia and Dumago after they were allegedly caught sniffing shabu at the PAL Tool Room. After due notice, they were dismissed for transgressing the PAL Code of Discipline. The petitioners filed a complaint for illegal dismissal. The Labor Arbiter decided in favor of petitioners with an immediate reinstatement. A writ was issued to such effect pending appeal with the NLRC.

ISSUE: Can the petitioners collect wages on the period of appeal from the Labor Arbiter’s order up to the final decision of the higher court?

HELD: Yes. The State forcefully and meaningfully underscore labor as a primary social and economic force. In short, with respect to decisions reinstating employees, the law itself has determined a sufficiently overwhelming reason for its execution pending appeal. Therefore, the petitioners can collect wages from the period of the execution of the decision of the labor arbiter to the time of the final decision of the higher court.

MORTERA v. CIR, GR L-1340, Oct. 13, 1947
FACTS: All laborers of Canlubang Sugar Estate were ordered to return to work immediately and stop the strike with the admonition that those who will fail to report will not only lose any concession but the company was authorized by the public respondent herein to employ new employees or laborers to take the places or positions of those who fail to report. The public respondent ordered that picketing under any guise or form, is entirely prohibited considering that the industry was into sugar, a very important and essential food, lack of supply would mean destruction of sugar centrals of many provinces.

ISSUE: Was there a  denial of the right to strike?
HELD: Yes. The order on prohibition to strike should be understood to cover only illegal picketing, that is, picketing through the use of illegal means. Peaceful picketing cannot be prohibited. It is part of the freedom of speech guaranteed by the Constitution. Petitioners have not shown reasons to annul the order. Petition dismissed.
FELIX UY v. COA, GR 130685, March 21, 2000

FACTS: Petitioners were among the more than 60 dismissed permanent employees of the Capitol of Agusan del Sur by the newly incumbent Governor Paredes. They contended that the dismissal was a political vengeance because he hired new employees. The Governor averred that the dismissal was not illegal because it was due to the reduction in work force due to lack of funds and it is a valid ground of terminating the services of the employees. The Merit System Protection Board held the dismissal illegal and ordered their reinstatement but Governor Paredes refused to abide from the order. The COA on the other hand affirmed the decision of the MSPB but denied the motion of the petitioners stating that it is the personal liability of Governor Paredes and not the Provincial Government of Agusan del Sur.

ISSUE: Can government employees receive backwages and other monetary benefits from the government?

HELD: Yes. If the MSPB found bad faith on the part of Governor Paredes, it would have categorically decreed his personal liability for the illegal dismissal of the petitioners. To be sure, even the petitioners did not proceed from the theory that their dismissal is the personal liability of Governor Paredes. Familiar learning is our ruling that bad faith cannot be presumed and he who alleges bad faith has the onus of proving it. In the case at bar, the decision of the MSPB by itself does not meet the quantum of proof necessary to overcome the presumption of good faith.
FACTS: The petitioner, a managerial employee who was holding a position of trust and confidence, was admonished by the latter of her improper handling of a situation involving a rank-and-file employee. She admitted having read a supposed confidential letter for the PET directors containing a  legal opinion of the respondent's counsel regarding the status of her employment. As a consequence, she was terminated for willful breach of trust reposed upon by her employer. She claimed having been denied of due process.
ISSUE: Was her dismissal justified?
HELD: Yes. The petitioner has given the respondent more than enough reasons to distrust her. The arrogance and hostility she has shown towards the company her stubborn uncompromising stance in almost all  instances justify the company's termination of her employment.
PANTRANCO v. PSC, GR 47065, June 26, 1940

FACTS: Petitioner wanted to have Sec. 1 of CA 454 be declared unconstitutional or that if constitutional be declared inapplicable to valid and subsisting certificates issued prior to its enactment. This arose from the time petitioner applied for ten additional trucks to comply with his existing certificates of public convenience issued before the enactment of the CA 454 because he was not agreeable with the conditions set forth by PSC. He contended that this Act violates the constitutional guarantee of non-impairment of contracts.
ISSUE: Was the constitutional guarantee of non-impairment of obligations and contracts violated?

HELD:  No. Statutes for the regulation of public utilities are a proper exercise by the state of its police power for the control and regulation of public utilities in order to protect the public. If one voluntarily placed his property in public service, he cannot complain of the regulation of the State through its police power. A regulation of public utilities applies not only to future but also to present contracts in operation. Such statutes are, therefore, not unconstitutional, either impairing the obligation of contracts, taking property without due process, or denying the equal protection of the laws, especially inasmuch as the question whether or not private property shall be devoted to a public and the consequent burdens assumed is ordinarily for the owner to decide.

FACTS:  Palmeria was employed by private respondent Coca-cola, which later entered into a contract of service with Lipercon Services. It was made to appear that the petitioner was an employee of Lipercon, before being dismissed by Coca-cola. Petitioner was able to prove his employment with Coca-cola, hence sought for reinstatement. The labor arbiter and NLRC ruled that reinstatement could not be availed of because of the vehement refusal of the respondent to accept back the petitioner.
ISSUE: Should the petition for reinstatement be granted despite the strained relations between employee and employer?
HELD: Yes. The importance of the remedy of reinstatement to an unjustly dismissed employee cannot be overstated. It is the remedy that most effectively restores the right of an employee to his employment and all its benefits before its violation by his employer. Yet despite all its virtues, reinstatement does not and cannot fully vindicate all of an employees injuries for reinstatement no more than compensates for his financial damages. It cannot make up for his other sufferings, intangible yet valuable xxx  It is a right which cannot be allowed to be devalued by the purchasing power of employers who are only too willing to bankroll the separation pay of their illegally dismissed employees to get rid of them.


FACTS:  Petitioners were among the 800 public school teachers who staged “mass actions” on September 17 to 19, 1990 to dramatize their grievances against the alleged failure of the government to implement measures intended for their material benefit. The Education Secretary issued a Return-to-Work Order but the petitioners failed to comply. Hence they were charged by the Secretary with several administrative cases leading to their dismissal from service.
ISSUE: Can government employees engage in a strike?
HELD:  No. As a general rule, even in the absence of express statutory prohibition like Memo Circ. No.6 public employees are denied the right to strike or engage in work stoppage against a public employer. The right of the sovereign to prohibit strikes or work stoppages public employees was clearly recognized at common law. To grant employees of the public sector the right to strike there must be a clear and direct legislative authority therefor. In the absence of any express legislation allowing government employees to strike, recognizing their right to do so, or regulating the exercise of the right, employees in the public service may not engage in strike, walk-outs and temporary work stoppage like workers in the private sector.
FACTS: During the pendency of the labor dispute between the petitioners and the respondents, the CIR managed to forge a voluntary agreement which results into a return-to-work order, and the respondents was prohibited to, among others, lay-off any of the petitioners. Barely 4 months the contract, petitioners again staged a strike, violating the condition of the agreement. The latter countered by assailing the Sec 19 of CA 103, the law upon which the voluntary agreement was based, arguing that the same results to involuntary servitude.
ISSUE: Should a voluntary agreement with a condition that workers must return to work be voided upon a ground of involuntary servitude?
HELD:  No. An employee entering into a contract of employment voluntarily accepts, among other conditions, those prescribed in Section 19 of CA 103. The voluntariness of the employee's entering into it or not--with such implied condition, negatives the possibility of involuntary servitude ensuing.
MABEZA v. NLRC, G.R. No. 118506 April 18, 1997

FACTS: The petitioner and her co-employees were asked by their employer to sign an instrument attesting to the latter’s compliance with minimum wage and other labor standard provision, and that they have no complaints against the management. The petitioner signed the affidavit but refused to go to the City’s Prosecutor’s Office to confirm the veracity and contents of the affidavit as instructed by management. That same day she was ordered by the hotel management to turn over the keys to her living quarters and to remove her belongings in the hotel’s premises. She then filed a leave of absence which was denied by her employer. She attempted to return to work but the hotel’s cashier told her that she should not report to work and instead continue with her unofficial leave of absence. The management defended upon a ground of loss of confidence.
ISSUE: Was the dismissal of the petitioner valid?
HELD:  No. The pivotal question in any case where unfair labor practice on the part of the employer is alleged is whether or not the employer has exerted pressure, in the form of restraint, interference or coercion, against his employee’s right to institute concerted action for better terms and conditions of employment. Without doubt, the act of compelling employees to sign an instrument indicating that the employer observed labor standard provisions of the law when he might not have, together with the act of terminating or coercing those who refuse to cooperate with the employers’ scheme constitutes unfair labor practice.
FACTS: Supervisors  and managers in petitioner company formed a union separate from that of the rank-and-file union, petitioned for certification election, and staged a strike against the petitioner, prompting the latter to seek a permanent injunction.
ISSUE: Are supervisors or managers allowed by law to form a union?
HELD:  No. The supervisory employees of petitioner firm may not, under the law, form a supervisors union, separate and distinct from the existing bargaining unit (BEU), composed of the rank-and-file employees of the Bulletin Publishing Corporation. It is evident that most of the private respondents are considered managerial employees. xxx The rationale for this inhibition has been stated to be, because if these managerial employees would belong to or be affiliated with a Union, the latter might not be assured of their loyalty to the Union in view of evident conflict of interests. The Union can also become company- dominated with the presence of managerial employees in Union membership.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Digested Cases in Taxation (on Assessment, Levy and Distraint, and Statute of Limitations)

CIR vs. CA, Atlas Consolidated
242 SCRA 289
GR No. 104151 March 10, 1995
"Assessments are prima facie presumed correct and made in good faith. So that, in the absence of proof of any irregularities in the performance of official duties, an assessment will not be disturbed."
FACTS: The Commissioner of Internal Revenue served two notices and demand for payment of the respective deficiency ad valorem and buiness taxes for taxable years 1975 and 1976 against the respondent Atlas Consolidated Mining and Development Corporation (ACMDC). The latter protested both assessments but the same were denied, hence it filed two separate petitions for review in the Court of Tax Appeals. The CTA rendered a consolidated decision holding, inter alia, that ACMDC was not liable for deficiency ad valorem taxes on copper and silver for 1975 and 1976 thereby effectively sustaining the theory of ACMDC that in computing the ad valorem tax on copper mineral, the refining and smelting charges should be deducted, in addition to freight and insurance charges.
    However, the tax court held ACMDC liable for the amount consisting of 25% surcharge for late payment of the ad valorem tax and late filing of notice of removal of silver, gold and pyrite extracted during certain periods, and for alleged deficiency manufacturer's sales tax and such contractor's tax for leasing out of its personal properties. ACDMC elevated the matter to the Supreme Court claiming that the leasing out was a mere isolated transaction, hence should not be subjected to contractor's tax.
ISSUE: Is the claim of the private respondent, with respect to the contractor's tax, impressed with merit?
HELD: No. It is being held that ACMDC was not a manufacturer subject to the percentage tax imposed by Section 186 of the tax code. However such conclusion cannot be made with respect to the contractor's tax being imposed on ACMDC. It cannot validly claim that the leasing out of its personal properties was merely an isolated transaction. Its book of accounts shows that several distinct payments were made for the use of its personal properties such as its plane, motor boat and dump truck. The series of transactions engaged in by ACMDC for the lease of its aforesaid properties could also be deduced from the fact that during the period there were profits earned and reported therefor. The allegation of ACMDC that it did not realize any profit from the leasing out of its said personal properties, since its income therefrom covered only the costs of operation such as salaries and fuel, is not supported by any documentary or substantial evidence.
    Assessments are prima facie presumed correct and made in good faith. Contrary to the theory of ACMDC, it is the taxpayer and not the BIR who has the duty of proving otherwise. It is an elementary rule that in the absence of proof of any irregularities in the performance of official duties, an assessment will not be disturbed. All presumptions are in favor of tax assessments. Verily, failure to present proof of error in assessments will justify judicial affirmance of said assessment.

149 SCRA 351
GR No. L-38540 April 30, 1987
"The follow-up letter reiterating demand for payment could be considered a notice of assessment in itself if duly received by the taxpayer."
FACTS: The petitioner sought the review on certiorari of the decision of the respondent Court of Appeals reversing the decision of the then Court of First Instance of Manila which ordered private respondent Nielson & Co., Inc. to pay the Government the amount of P11,496.00 as ad valorem tax, occupation fees, additional residence tax and 25% surcharge for late payment, for the years 1949 to 1952. Petitioner claims that the demand letter of 16 July 1955 showed an imprint indicating that the original thereof was released and mailed on 4 August 1955 by the Chief, Records Section of the Bureau of Internal Revenue, and that the original letter was not returned to said Bureau; thus, said demand letter must be considered to have been received by the private respondent. According to petitioner, if service is made by ordinary mail, unless the actual date of receipt is shown, service is deemed complete and effective upon the expiration of five (5) days after mailing. As the letter of demand dated 16 July 1955 was actually mailed to private respondent, there arises the presumption that the letter was received by private respondent in the absence of evidence to the contrary. More so, where private respondent did not offer any evidence, except the self-serving testimony of its witness, that it had not received the original copy of the demand letter dated 16 July 1955.
ISSUE: Was notice of assessment or demand properly served to the respondent? Should the receipt by the respondent of the succeeding follow-up demand notices be construed as receipt of the original demand?
HELD: As to the first issue, no. As correctly observed by the respondent court in its appealed decision, while the contention of petitioner is correct that a mailed letter is deemed received by the addressee in the ordinary course of mail, still this is merely a disputable presumption, subject to controversion, and a direct denial of the receipt thereof shifts the burden upon the party favored by the presumption to prove that the mailed letter was indeed received by the addressee. Since petitioner has not adduced proof that private respondent had in fact received the demand letter of 16 July 1955, it can not be assumed that private respondent received said letter.       As to the second issue, Yes. Records show that petitioner wrote private respondent a follow-up letter dated 19 September 1956, reiterating its demand for the payment of taxes as originally demanded in petitioner's letter dated 16 July 1955. This follow-up letter is considered a notice of assessment in itself which was duly received by private respondent in accordance with its own admission. And consequently, under Section 7 of Republic Act No. 1125, the assessment is appealable to the Court of Tax Appeals within thirty (30) days from receipt of the letter. The taxpayer's failure to appeal in due time, as in the case at bar, makes the assessment in question final, executory and demandable. Thus, private respondent is now barred from disputing the correctness of the assessment or from invoking any defense that would reopen the question of its liability on the merits.

102 PHIL 1165
GR No. L-9675, September 28, 1957
"The property levied by a competent court may, with the consent thereof, be distrained, subject to the prior lien of the attachment creditor."
FACTS: The Collector of Internal Revenue sent a warrant of distraint and levy against the properties of Restituto Codiñera for collection of certain deficiency specific tax. However, it could not be effected in view of the attachment of the said properties of the CFI-Manila of another case. After seven years, the Collector of Internal Revenue issued a warrant of distraint and levy commanding the City Treasurer of Cebu City to distrain the goods, chattels, or effects and other personal property of whatever character, and levy upon the real property and interest in or rights to real property of the estate of the deceased. The heirs of the deceased filed the action with the CTA barring the government to collect said deficiency on the ground of prescription therefore praying to declare null and void, and of no legal force and effect the warrant of distraint and levy which the respondent issued on March 7, 1955.
ISSUE: Does the attachment made by a court in a civil case over certain properties of a taxpayer bar the government from enforcing a warrant of distraint and levy over the aforesaid properties in order to collect the taxes due?
HELD: No. There may be a valid reason for non-distraint of the property which was due to the attachment of the CFI-Manila in another case. However, such property levied by a competent court may, with the consent thereof, be subsequently distrained, subject to the prior lien of the attachment creditor. The attachment merely deprives the Collector of Internal Revenue the power to divest the Court of its jurisdiction over said property but it does not impair such rights as the Government may have for the collection of taxes.

GR No. 502, January 29, 1946
"The taxpayer should at least be apprised of the exact date of the proceeding by which she is to lose her property. Failure of the taxpayer to accordingly correct or change name in the assessment record cannot supplant such absence of notice."
FACTS: The Provincial Treasurer of Tayabas issued a notice for the sale at public auction of the real properties of Nemesio Cabrera forfeited for tax delinquency on December 15, 1940. The letter sent to Nemesio Cabrera was returned marked “Unclaimed” for the latter was already dead in 1935. The land was actually sold in a rescheduled public auction sale on May 1941 to Catigbac and was finalized in May 1942. Basilia Cabrera, the registered owner of the land subject to attachment, filed a complaint with the CFI-Tayabas against the Provincial Treasurer and Catigbac attacking the validity of the sale on the grounds that she was not notified, even though the property had remained in the assessment book in the name of Nemesio Cabrera, because she became the registered owner thereof since 1934 when a Torrens Title was issued to her by the Register of Deeds of Tayabas.
ISSUE: Is there a need for new notices if the land was not sold on the date specified in the previous notice?
HELD: Yes. Under the law, even if the notice state that the sale would take place on a specified date and every day thereafter, it is a general and indefinite notice. In order to protect the taxpayer’s rights, the taxpayer should at least be apprised of the exact date of the proceeding by which she is to lose her property. Besides, the appellee admittedly being not notified also vitiates the proceeding. She is the registered owner of the land and had become liable for taxes thereon. For all purposes, she is the delinquent taxpayer "against whom the taxes were assessed." It cannot be Nemesio for the latter's obligation to pay ended where Basilia's liability began.
   Basilia may be criticized for failure to have changed the name in the assessment record. However, such circumstance, nevertheless, cannot supplant the absence of notice.

132 SCRA 1
GR No. L-37061, September 5, 1984
"Forest charges are internal revenue taxes and the BIR has the sole power and duty to collect them. Thus, an assessment made by the Bureau of Forestry cannot be considered an assessment made by the BIR."
FACTS: The Bureau of Forestry sent a demand letter dated January 15, 1949 to Mambulao Lumber Co. demanding for the payment of forest charges and surcharges. Mambulao protested the assessment. On August 29,1958, the BIR likewise wrote a letter to the company demanding payment, which subsequently requested reinvestigation. The BIR gave the company twenty (20) days from receipt within which to submit the results of its verification of payments. For failure to comply and failure to pay its tax liability despite demands, CIR filed a complaint for collection with CFI-Manila on August 25, 1961. The CFI-Manila and Court of Appeals decided against Mambulao ordering it to pay the tax liability. Petitioner argued that the collection is barred by the statute of limitations under Sections 332 of the NIRC. As stated, the collection should be made within the five (5) year period. From 1949 (date when the Bureau of Forestry assessed and demand payment as forestry charges and surcharges) up to 1961 (date of filing of complaint), it is already more than five years.
ISSUE: Has the period of filing of collection complaint prescribed?
HELD: No. The action for collection is not barred by prescription. The basis of the complaint filed on August 1961 was the demand letter made by the CIR on August 29, 1958 and not the demand letter of the Bureau of Forestry on January 1949. So that the reckoning date of the 5-year period should be from the date of the BIR letter and not that of the Bureau of Forestry. This must be so because forest charges are internal revenue taxes and the BIR has the sole power and duty to collect them.

29 SCRA 552
GR No. No. L-21551, September 30, 1969
"The filing of an answer to taxpayer's petition for review is considered as institution of judicial action."
FACTS: The Commissioner of Internal Revenue assessed the petitioner investment corporation of deficiency income taxes for the years 1950 to 1954 and for 1957. There were two conflicting dates of assessment, which are vital to the compliance with the statute of limitations, based on each claim of the petitioner and the respondent; the Commisioner's record of date of assesment is February 27, 1956 while the petitioner believes the demand was made on December 27, 1955 so that, as the petitioner corporation claims, the Commissioner's action to recover its tax liability should be deemed to have prescribed for failure on the part of the Commissioner to file a complaint for collection against it in an appropriate civil action.
ISSUE: Has the action for collection prescribed?
HELD: No. It has been held that "a judicial action for the collection of a tax is begun by the filing of a complaint with the proper court of first instance, or where the assessment is appealed to the Court of Tax Appeals, by filing an answer to the taxpayer's petition for review wherein payment of the tax is prayed for." This is but logical for where the taxpayer avails of the right to appeal the tax assessment to the Court of Tax Appeals, the said Court is vested with the authority to pronounce judgment as to the taxpayer's liability to the exclusion of any other court. In the present case, regardless of whether the assessments were made on February 24 and 27, 1956, as claimed by the Commissioner, or on December 27, 1955 as claimed by the taxpayer, the government's right to collect the taxes due has clearly not prescribed, as the taxpayer's appeal or petition for review was filed with the Tax Court on May 4, 1960, with the Commissioner filing on May 20, 1960 his Answer with a prayer for payment of the taxes due, long before the expiration of the five-year period to effect collection by judicial action counted from the date of assessment.

2 SCRA 144
GR No. L-14142, May 30, 1961
"Where the tax obligation is secured by a bond, the prescriptive period for the action for the forfeiture of the bond is governed by the Civil Code."
FACTS: The Solicitor General, in behalf of the Republic of the Philippines, filed before CFI of Manila an action against the defendant Araneta, as principals, and Manila Surety, as surety, to recover the internal revenue taxes including surcharges, the payment of which was guaranteed by a bond executed when the first extrajudicial demand for payment was made. The appellant-taxpayers contend that the appellee's cause of action has prescribed, because the action for recovery of internal revenue taxes and surcharge due brought on 22 February 1957, was not commenced within the period of five years after the assessment dated 15 May 1948 had been made, as provided for in Section 331 of the Tax Code.
ISSUE: Has the action to recover the taxes due from the taxpayer and the surety already prescribed?
HELD: No. The appellant-taxpayers cannot invoke prescription under the provisions of Section 331 of the NIRC because the government is suing on the bond executed and filed by them to guarantee payment in 6 monthly installments of the tax liability due from 1946 to 1948, which is a separate and distinct obligation of the parties thereto. The action to enforce the obligation on the bond executed on March 18, 1949, having been filed in court on February 22, 1957, was within the 10-year prescriptive period to enforce a written contractual obligation, as set by the Civil Code.

273 SCRA 47
GR No. 120880, June 5, 1997
"The approval of the court sitting in probate is not a mandatory requirement in the collection of estate taxes."
"In case of failure to file a return, the tax may be assessed at anytime within 10 years after the omission."
FACTS: Bongbong Marcos sought for the reversal of the ruling of the Court of Appeals to grant CIR's petition to levy the properties of the late Pres. Marcos to cover the payment of his tax delinquencies during the period of his exile in the US. The Marcos family was assessed by the BIR after it failed to file estate tax returns. However the assessment were not protested administratively by Mrs. Marcos and the heirs of the late president so that they became final and unappealable after the period for filing of opposition has prescribed. Marcos contends that the properties could not be levied to cover the tax dues because they are still pending probate with the court, and settlement of tax deficiencies could not be had, unless there is an order by the probate court or until the probate proceedings are terminated.
    Petitioner also pointed out that applying Memorandum Circular No. 38-68, the BIR's Notices of Levy on the Marcos properties were issued beyond the allowed period, and are therefore null and void.
ISSUE: Are the contentions of Bongbong Marcos correct?
HELD: No. The deficiency income tax assessments and estate tax assessment are already final and unappealable -and-the subsequent levy of real properties is a tax remedy resorted to by the government, sanctioned by Section 213 and 218 of the National Internal Revenue Code. This summary tax remedy is distinct and separate from the other tax remedies (such as Judicial Civil actions and Criminal actions), and is not affected or precluded by the pendency of any other tax remedies instituted by the government.
  The approval of the court, sitting in probate, or as a settlement tribunal over the deceased's estate is not a mandatory requirement in the collection of estate taxes. On the contrary, under Section 87 of the NIRC, it is the probate or settlement court which is bidden not to authorize the executor or judicial administrator of the decedent's estate to deliver any distributive share to any party interested in the estate, unless it is shown a Certification by the Commissioner of Internal Revenue that the estate taxes have been paid. This provision disproves the petitioner's contention that it is the probate court which approves the assessment and collection of the estate tax.
   On the issue of prescription, the omission to file an estate tax return, and the subsequent failure to contest or appeal the assessment made by the BIR is fatal to the petitioner's cause, as under Sec.223 of the NIRC, in case of failure to file a return, the tax may be assessed at anytime within 10 years after the omission, and any tax so assessed may be collected by levy upon real property within 3 years (now 5 years) following the assessment of the tax. Since the estate tax assessment had become final and unappealable by the petitioner's default as regards protesting the validity of the said assessment, there is no reason why the BIR cannot continue with the collection of the said tax.

320 SCRA 574
GR No. 130430, December 13, 1999
"A request for reconsideration of the tax assessment does not effectively suspend the running of the precriptive period if the same is filed after the assessment had become final and unappealable."
FACTS: On July 18, 1986, the BIR issued to respondent Salud V. Hizon a deficiency income tax assessment covering the fiscal year 1981-1982. Respondent not having contested the assessment, petitioner BIR, on January 12, 1989, served warrants of distraint and levy to collect the tax deficiency. However, for reasons not known, it did not proceed to dispose of the attached properties.
    More than three years later, the respondent wrote the BIR requesting a reconsideration of her tax deficiency assessment. The BIR, in a letter dated August 11, 1994, denied the request. On January 1, 1997, it filed a case with the RTC to collect the tax deficiency. Hizon moved to dismiss the case on two grounds: (1) that the complaint was not filed upon authority of the BIR Commissioner as required by Sec. 221 of the NIRC, and (2) that the action had already prescribed. Over petitioner's objection, the trial court granted the motion and dismissed the complaint.
    BIR on the other hand contends that respondent's request for reinvestigation of her tax deficiency assessment on November 1992 effectively suspended the running of the period of prescription.
ISSUE: Has the action for collection of the tax prescribed?
HELD: Yes. Sec. 229 of the NIRC mandates that a request for reconsideration must be made within 30 days from the taxpayer's receipt of the tax deficiency assessment, otherwise the assessment becomes final, unappealable and, therefore, demandable. The notice of assessment for respondent's tax deficiency was issued by petitioner on July 18, 1986. On the other hand, respondent made her request for reconsideration thereof only on November 3, 1992, without stating when she received the notice of tax assessment. Hence, her request for reconsideration did not suspend the running of the prescriptive period provided under Sec. 223(c). Although the Commissioner acted on her request by eventually denying it on August 11, 1994, this is of no moment and does not detract from the fact that the assessment had long become demandable.

22 SCRA 3
GR No. L-23988, January 2, 1968
"What may be the subject of a judicial review is the decision of the Commissioner on the protest against assessment, not the assessment itself."
FACTS: The spouses Villa filed joint income tax returns for the years 1951 to 1956. The BIR issued assessments for deficiency of income tax for the said years. Without contesting the said assessments with the CIR, they filed a petition for review with the CTA. The CTA took cognizance of the of the appeal and rendered favorable judgment to the spouses. The CIR appealed to the SC questioning the jurisdiction of the CTA.
ISSUE: Is an appeal to the CTA proper in this case? Is the CTA vested with jurisdiction?
HELD: No. The rule is that where a taxpayer questions an assessment and asks the Collector to reconsider or cancel the same because he (the taxpayer) believes he is not liable therefor, the assessment becomes a "disputed assessment" that the Collector must decide, and the taxpayer can appeal to the Court of Tax Appeals only upon receipt of the decision of the Collector on the disputed assessment.  Since in the instant case the taxpayer appealed the assessment of the Commissioner of Internal Revenue without previously contesting the same, the appeal was premature and the Court of Tax Appeals had no jurisdiction to entertain said appeal. For, as stated, the jurisdiction of the Tax Court is to review by appeal decisions of Internal Revenue on disputed assessments. The Tax Court is a court of special jurisdiction. As such, it can take cognizance only of such matters as are clearly within its jurisdiction.