NLRC may limit itself to reviewing, deciding specific issues elevated on appeal

The New Rules of Procedure of the NLRC provides: (c) Subject to the provisions of Article 218, once the appeal is perfected in accordance with these rules, the Commission may limit itself to reviewing and deciding specific issues that were elevated on appeal. In the appeal memorandum of private respondents to the NLRC, the issue raised for resolution has been defined, thus: Whether or not complainants are entitled to the payment of the correct amount of the minimum wage, the 5-day incentive leave and an adjustment of the 13th month pay. Private respondents clearly were claiming only the balance in their 13th month pay such as would result from an adjustment in their salaries once (and if) the alleged wage underpayment is proved and finally decreed. The position paper that private respondents submitted to the Labor Arbiter was explicit: Due to the failure of respondent to pay complainants the minimum wage as mandated by law, the 13th month pay given them is definitely lower than what they should be paid. Hence, there should be a corresponding adjustment of their 13th month pay. x x x As to the adjustment on the 13th month pay and the 5-day incentive leave with pay which is convertible into cash, complainants cannot make the proper computation as records of payments made to them are with respondent. It is requested that this Hon. Office require respondent to furnish it with the pertinent data. Hence, in paragraph 2 of their prayer, private respondents asked the Labor Arbiter to order petitioner - To pay all the complainants the balance of the 13th month pay and the 5-day service incentive leave in such amount as may be determined by this Hon. Office. Understandably, petitioner did not have to touch on the 13th month pay in its position paper. Indeed, the 13th month pay was never an independent issue. Considering that, as it now so appears, private respondents have not been underpaid their salaries, and that the total compensation package for each of them was within the minimum level prescribed by law, there is no reason for any corresponding adjustment in their 13th month pay. The Solicitor General himself finds similarly and he, too, has recommended the nullification of the questioned NLRCs decision. [G.R. No. 112409. December 4, 1996]