Security guard loses service firearm, gets dismissed; Valid termination?

In cases questioning the legality of dismissal, the burden is upon the employer to prove a valid and just cause for termination of employment. The labor arbiter who handled the case below deemed this burden sufficiently discharged, and found substantial proof to consider the dismissal valid and proper, hence the dismissal of the complaint at that level. Private respondent admitted having received the Squires Bingham caliber .38 revolver on the evening of July 5, 1990. After this admitted receipt by private respondent upon his assumption of duty on that day, no trace of said firearm was ever seen again. Petitioner has shown that there was no turn-over made by private respondent at the end of his shift on the morning of July 6, 1990. When asked to explain the loss of the said firearm, private respondent claimed that he gave it to SIC Arminio Dizon because his then reliever, SG Layto, already had his own firearm. Such claim was, however, denied by SIC Dizon himself, and further belied under oath by LG Estrellita Lopez who was inside the security office that morning when private respondent claimed he turned over the firearm. Under these circumstances, the labor arbiter, we believe, was correct in concluding that a just and valid ground existed to justify the termination of private respondents employment. [G.R. No. 124134. November 20, 1996]