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CASE 2017-0004: DASMARINAS T. ARCAINA AND MAGNANI T. BANTA,   V. NOEMI L. INGRAM, REPRESENTED BY MA. NENETTE L. ARCHINUE, (G.R. NO. 196444, 15 FEBRUARY 2017,  JARDELEZA, J.:) (BRIEF TITLE: ARCAINA ET AL VS INGRAM)

                            

 DISPOSITIVE:

 

“WHEREFORE, premises considered, the petition is GRANTED. The October 26, 2010 Decision and March 1 7, 2011 Resolution of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. SP No. 107997 are hereby REVERSED and SET ASIDE. The July 31, 2008 Order of the 3rd Municipal Circuit Trial Court of Sto. Domingo-Manito, dismissing Civil Case No. S-241 for insufficiency of evidence, and ordering Ingram to pay Pl45,000.00 to petitioners, is hereby REINSTATED with MODIFICATION. Ingram is ordered to pay petitioners the amount of Pl45,000.00 to earn interest at the rate of six percent ( 6%) per annum from July 31, 200856 until the finality of this Decision. Thereafter, the total amount due shall earn legal interest at the rate of 6% per annum 57 until fully paid

 

SO ORDERED.”


SUBJECTS/DOCTRINES/DIGEST:

 

“In a lump sum contract, a vendor is generally obligated to deliver all the land covered within the boundaries, regardless of whether the real area should be greater or smaller than that recited in the deed.49 However, in case there is conflict between the area actually covered by the boundaries and the estimated area stated in the contract of sale, he/she shall do so· only when the excess or deficiency between the fonner and the latter is reasonable.50


Applying Del Prado to the case before us, we find that the difference of 5,800 sq. m. is too substantial to be considered reasonable. We note that only 6,200 sq. m. was agreed upon between petitioners and Ingram. Declaring Ingram as the owner of the whole 12,000 sq. m. on the premise that this is the actual area included in the boundaries would be ordering the delivery of almost twice the area stated in the deeds of sale. Surely, Article 1542 does not contemplate such an unfair situation to befall a vendor-that he/she would be compelled to deliver double the amount that he/she originally sold without a corresponding increase in price. In Asiain v. Jalandoni,51 we explained that “[a] vendee of a land when it is sold in gross or with the description ‘more or less’ does not thereby ipso facto take all risk of quantity in the land. The use of ‘more or less’ or similar words in designating quantity covers only a reasonable excess or deficiency.”52 Therefore, we rule that Ingram is entitled only to 6,200 sq. m. of the property. An area of 5,800 sq. m. more than the area intended to be sold is not a reasonable excess that can be deemed included in the sale.53”


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SCD-2017-0004-DASMARINAS T. ARCAINA AND MAGNANI T. BANTA VS. NOEMI L. INGRAM, REPRESENTED BY MA. NENETTE L. ARCHINUE

 

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CASE 2017-0098: JULIETA B. STA. ANA,  V. MANILA JOCKEY CLUB, INC., (G.R. No. 208459, 07 FEBRUARY 2017,  DEL CASTILLO, J) (SUBJECT/S: LOST OF TRUST AS JUST CAUSE IN TERMINATING AN EMPLOYEE; HOW TO PROVE LOSS OF TRUST; WHEN EMPLOYEE IS ENTITLED TO MORAL AND EXEMPLARY DAMAGES; COMPUTATION OF SEPARATION PAY IN LIEU OF REINSTATEMENT) (BRIEF TITLE: STA ANA VS MJCI)

 

DISPOSITIVE:

 

“WHEREFORE, the Petition is GRANTED. The Decision dated July 11, 2012 and Resolution dated July 31, 2013 of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. SP No. 114861 are REVERSED and SET ASIDE. Petitioner Julieta B. Sta. Ana is declared to have been illegally dismissed from service. Accordingly, Manila Jockey Club, Inc. is ordered to pay Julieta B. Sta. Ana the following: 1) full backwages inclusive of allowances and other benefits or their monetary equivalent, computed from February 16, 2009, the date of her dismissal, until the finality of this Decision; 2) separation pay equivalent to one month pay per year of service in lieu of reinstatement; 3) P50,000.00 as moral damages; 4) P50,000.00 as exemplary damages; and, 5) attorney’s fees equivalent to 10% of the total monetary awards. These awards shall also earn legal interest at the rate of 6% per annum from the finality of this Decision until its full satisfaction.

 

SO ORDERED.”


SUBJECTS/DOCTRINES/DIGEST:

 

IN THIS CASE THERE IS ALREADY A UNIFORM FINDING OF THE LABOR ARBITER,  NLRC AND COURT OF APPEALS  THAT STA. ANA WAS VALIDLY DISMISSED. SHALL THE SC STILL REVIEW THE FACTS AND NOT JUST THE QUESTION/S OF LAW INVOLVED?

 

YES. BECAUSE THE UNIFORM FINDING THAT STA ANA WAS VALIDLY DISMISSED IS UNJUSTIFIED BECAUSE SALIENT FACTS WERE OVERLOOKED, WHICH IF PROPERLY CONSIDERED, WILL PROVE THE ABSENCE OF JUST CAUSE IN DISMISSING HER FROM WORK.

 

BUT IS IT NOT THAT THE EMPLOYER HAS THE RIGHT TO DISMISS AN EMPLOYEE FOR JUST CAUSE SUCH AS WILLFUL BREACH OF TRUST AND CONFIDENCE?

 

YEST BUT COMPLEMENTARY TO SUCH RIGHT IS THE BURDEN OF THE EMPLOYER TO PROVE THAT THE EMPLOYEE’S DISMISSAL IS FOR A JUST CAUSE AND THE EMPLOYER AFFORDED THE LATTER DUE PROCESS BEFORE HIS TERMINATION.

 

TO LEGALLY DISMISS AN EMPLOYEE ON THE GROUND OF LOSS OF TRUST WHAT MUST THE EMPLOYER ESTABLISH?

 

THE EMPLOYER MUST ESTABLISH THAT:

 

A) THE EMPLOYEE OCCUPIED A POSITION OF TRUST AND CONFIDENCE, OR HAS BEEN ROUTINELY CHARGED WITH THE CARE AND CUSTODY OF THE EMPLOYER’S MONEY OR PROPERTY;

 

B) THE EMPLOYEE COMMITTED  A WILLFUL BREACH OF TRUST BASED ON CLEARLY ESTABLISHED FACTS; AND,

 

C) SUCH LOSS OF TRUST RELATES TO THE EMPLOYEE’S PERFORMANCE OF DUTIES.

 

MJCI ARGUED THAT STA. ANA USED ITS PERSONNEL IN HER LENDING BUSINESS DURING OFFICE HOURS. IS THIS ACCUSATION VALID?

 

NO BECAUSE IT WAS NOT PROVEN. FIRST THIS ALLEGED FACT WAS ONLY MENTIONED IN A REPORT ISSUED IN APRIL 2009 AFTER STA ANA WAS DISMISSED IN FEBRUARY 2009. SECOND IT WAS NOT PROVEN WHEN THE EMPLOYEE DELIVERED LOAN MONEY TO STA ANA’S CUSTOMER, THUS IT WAS NOT ASCERTAINED THAT THIS WAS DONE AFTER OFFICE HOURS.


MJCI ALLEGED THAT STA ANA CONNIVED WITH A CERTAIN TEJADA, A BRANCH MANAGER OF MJCI TO LOAN MONEY USING MJCI FUND. IS THIS ACCUSATION VALID?

 

IT MAY BE THAT TEJADA AND STA. ANA WERE BUSINESS PARTNERS BUT IT WAS NOT PROVEN THAT STA ANA USED MJCI FUND. THE MONEY IN STA ANA’S BRANCH WAS INTACT AND ACCOUNTED FOR.

 

THE LA, NLRC, AND THE CA CONCLUDED THAT STA, ANA WAS IN CONSPIRACY WITH TEJADA BECAUSE A) SHE MADE AN INCONSISTENT DECLARATION THAT SHE FUNDED HER BUSINESS FROM THE SALE OF HER FISHING VESSELS TWO YEARS AGO (FROM THE TIME SHE EXECUTED HER AFFIDAVIT DATED FEBRUARY 2, 2009) YET SHE ALSO STATED THAT SHE STARTED HER BUSINESS 15 YEARS PRIOR TO THE TAKEOVER OF MJCI’S NEW MANAGEMENT; AND B) STA. ANA’S SALARY WAS INSUFFICIENT TO SUPPORT HER BUSINESS.

 

BUT SUCH CONCLUSION IS UNTENABLE. THE EVIDENCE SHOWED THAT STA ANA OBTAINED LOANS FROM BANKS TO FINANCE HER LENDING BUSINESS LONG TIME AGO AND THEREFORE THE SALE OF HER FISHING VESSELS SERVED ONLY AS ADDITIONAL FUND INFUSED INTO HER BUSINESS.

 

TO WHAT RELIEFS IS AN ILLEGALLY DISMISSED EMPLOYEE ENTITLED TO?

 

TO TWO RELIEFS: FULL BACKWAGES AND REINSTATEMENT.

 

IN SUCH CASE WHERE REINSTATEMENT IS NO LONGER AN OPTION, PAYMENT OF SEPARATION PAY IS JUSTIFIED.

 

HOW WILL SEPARATION PAY BE COMPUTED?

 

SEPARATION PAY MUST INCLUDE THE TIME FROM FILING OF COMPLAINT UP TO THE FINALITY OF THE DECISION OF THE CASE.

 

IS STA. ANA ENTITLED ALSO TO MORAL AND EXEMPLARY DAMAGES?

 

YES.

 

THE GRANT OF MORAL DAMAGES IS ALLOWED WHEN THE EMPLOYER ACTED IN BAD FAITH.

 

DURING THE ADMINISTRATIVE HEARING, MJCI RECEIVED IN EVIDENCE RELEVANT DOCUMENTS ESTABLISHING HER CAPACITY TO ENGAGE IN A LENDING BUSINESS, AND PROVING THAT SHE DID NOT ENGAGE IN ANY ACTIVITY TO DEFRAUD MTCI. ALSO A PLAIN READING OF THE STATEMENTS OF SANTOS AND PIMENTEL WOULD SHOW THAT THEY DID NOT EXPLICITLY DECLARE THAT STA. ANA USED ANOTHER EMPLOYEE DURING OFFICE HOURS AS CONDUIT IN HER BUSINESS. HOWEVER, DESPITE ALL THESE CLEAR PIECES OF EVIDENCE, AND ONLY ON MERE ALLEGATION OF LOSS OF TRUST, MJCI STILL DISMISSED HER.

 

THEREFORE, FOR ACTING IN “BAD FAITH OR SUCH CONSCIOUS DESIGN TO DO A WRONGFUL ACT FOR A DISHONEST PURPOSE,”  MJCI IS LIABLE TO PAY STA. ANA P50,000.00 AS MORAL DAMAGES. IT IS ALSO LIABLE TO PAY HER P50,000.00 AS EXEMPLARY DAMAGES TO DETER OTHER EMPLOYERS FROM COMMITTING THE SAME OR SIMILAR ACT. AT THE SAME TIME, THE COURT AWARDS IN HER FAVOR ATTORNEY’S FEES EQUIVALENT TO 10% OF THE TOTAL MONETARY AWARD AS SHE WAS COMPELLED TO LITIGATE IN ORDER TO PROTECT HER RIGHTS. THE LEGAL INTEREST OF 6% PER ANNUM SHALL BE IMPOSED ON THE TOTAL MONETARY AWARDS FROM THE FINALITY  OF THIS DECISION UNTIL ITS FULL SATISFACTION.


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scd-2016-0098-julieta-b-sta-ana-vs-manila-jockey-club-inc

 

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CASE 2016-0097: NESTLE PHILIPPINES, INC. VS. BENNY A. PUEDAN, JR., ET AL. (G.R. NO. G.R. No. 220617, 30 JAN 2017, PERLAS-BERNABE, J.) SUBJECT/S: (LABOR-ONLY CONTRACTING; CASE WHEN ALLEGED PRINCIPAL/CONTRACTOR  IS NOT LIABLE)

 

DISPOSITIVE:

 

“WHEREFORE, the petition is GRANTED. The Decision dated March 26, 2015 and the Resolution dated September 17, 2015 of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. SP No. 132686 are hereby REVERSED and SET ASIDE. Accordingly, the Decision dated May 30, 2013 and the Resolution dated August 30, 2013 of the National Labor Relations Commission in LAC No. 02-000699-13/ NCR-03-04761-12 are MODIFIED, DELETING petitioner Nestle Philippines, Inc.’s solidary liability with Ocho de Septiembre, Inc. (ODSI) for the latter’s monetary obligations to respondents Benny A. Puedan, Jr., Jayfer D. Limbo, Brodney N. Avila, Arthur C. Aquino, Ryan A. Miranda, Ronald R. Alave, Johnny A. Dimaya, Marlon B. Delos Reyes, Angelito R. Cordova, Edgar S. Barruga, Camilo B. Cordova, Jr., Jeffry B. Languisan, Edison U. Villapando, Jheimey S. Remolin, Mary Luz A. Macatalad, Jenalyn M. Gamurot, Dennis G. Bawag, Raquel A. Abellera, and Ricandro G. Guatno, Jr..

 

SO ORDERED.”

 

 SUBJECTS/DOCTRINES/DIGEST:

 

“However, a closer examination of the Distributorship Agreement reveals that the relationship of NPI and ODSI is not that of a principal and a contractor (regardless of whether labor-only or independent), but that of a seller and a buyer/re-seller. As stipulated in the Distributorship Agreement, NPI agreed to sell its products to ODSI at discounted prices,52 which in tum will be re-sold to identified customers, ensuring in the process the integrity and quality of the said products based on the standards agreed upon by the parties. 53 As aptly explained by NPI, the goods it manufactures are distributed to the market through various distributors, e.g., ODSI, that in tum, re-sell the same to designated outlets through its own employees such as the respondents. Therefore, the reselling activities allegedly performed by the respondents properly pertain to ODSI, whose principal business consists of the “buying, selling, distributing, and marketing goods and commodities of every kind” and “[entering] into all kinds of contracts for the acquisition of such goods [and commodities].”54

 

Thus, contrary to the CA’s findings, the aforementioned stipulations in the Distributorship Agreement hardly demonstrate control on the part of NPI over the means and methods by which ODSI performs its business, nor were they intended to dictate how ODSI shall conduct its business as a distributor. Otherwise stated, the stipulations in the Distributorship Agreement do not operate to control or fix the methodology on how ODSI should do its business as a distributor of NPI products, but merely provide rules of conduct or guidelines towards the achievement of a mutually desired result55 -which in this case is the sale ofNPI products to the end consumer. In Steelcase, Inc. v. Design International Selections, Inc., 56 the Court held that the imposition of minimum standards concerning sales, marketing, finance and operations are nothing more than an exercise of sound business practice to increase sales and maximize profits, to wit:

 

‘Finally, both the CA and DISI rely heavily on the Dealer Performance Expectation required by Steelcase of its distributors to prove that DISI was not functioning independently from Steelcase because the same imposed certain conditions pertaining to business planning, organizational structure, operational effectiveness and efficiency, and financial stability. It is actually logical to expect that Steelcase, being one of the major manufacturers of office systems furniture, would require its dealers to meet several conditions for the grant and continuation of a distributorship agreement. The imposition of minimum standards concerning sales, marketing, finance and operations is nothing more than an exercise of sound business practice to increase sales and maximize profits for the benefit of both Steelcase and its distributors. For as long as these requirements do not impinge on a distributor’s independence, then there is nothing wrong with placing reasonable expectations on them. 57 (Emphasis and underscoring supplied)’

 

Verily, it was only reasonable for NPI -it being a local arm of one of the largest manufacturers of foods and grocery products worldwide -to require its distributors, such as ODSI, to meet various conditions for the grant and continuation of a distributorship agreement for as long as these conditions do not control the means and methods on how ODSI does its distributorship business, as shown in this case. This is to ensure the integrity and quality of the products which will ultimately fall into the hands of the end consumer.

 

Thus, the foregoing circumstances show that ODSI was not a laboronly contractor of NPI; hence, the latter cannot be deemed the true employer of respondents. As a consequence, NPI cannot be held jointly and severally liable to ODSI’ s monetary obligations towards respondents.”


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 scd-2016-0097-nestle-philippines-inc-vs-benny-a-puedan-jr-et-al

 

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