CASE DIGEST: AGG Trucking vs. Yuag

G.R. No. 195033 : October 12, 2011

AGG TRUCKING AND/OR ALEX ANG GAEID, Petitioners, v. MELANIO B. YUAG, Respondent.

SERENO, J.:


FACTS:

Petitioner Alex Ang Gaeid had employed respondent Melanio Yuag as a driver since 28 February 2002.His clients were Busco Sugar Milling Co., Inc., operating in Quezon, Bukidnon; and Coca-cola Bottlers Company in Davao City and Cagayan de Oro City.

Petitioner noticed that respondent had started incurring substantial shortages. It was also reported that he had illegally sold bags of sugar along the way at a lower price, and that he was banned from entering the premises of the Busco Sugar Mill.Petitioner asked for an explanation from respondent who remained quiet.

Alarmed at the delivery shortages, petitioner took it upon himself to monitor all his drivers, including respondent, by instructing them to report to him their location from time to time through their mobile phones.He also required them to make their delivery trips in convoy, in order to avoid illegal sale of cargo along the way.

Respondent, along with 20 other drivers, was tasked to deliver bags of sugar from Cagayan de Oro City to Coca-Cola Bottlers Plant in Davao City on 4 December 2004.All drivers, with the exception of Yuag who could not be reached through his cellphone, reported their location as instructed.The Coca-Cola Plant in Davao later reported that the delivery had a suspiciously enormous shortage.

When confronted about the shortage and his failure to report his loacation, respondent did not respond to petitioner. Thereafter he was instructed to "just take a rest" which respondent construed as a constructive dismissal. After respondent demanded that his separation be made in writing, petitioner insisted that respondent return the next day and take a rest. Respondent however, went to file a complaint with the BLR for illegal dismissal and asked for his separation pay and 13th month pay; alleging that he was dismissed based on his non-returned call.

The Labor Arbiter however, sustained the dismissal for lack of substantial proof to sustain the allegation of illegal dismissal and that parties were under an employer-employee relationship. Upon appeal with the NLRC, the LA decision was reversed because respondent was deemed to be under preventive suspension without pay. A motion for reconsideration was made but was denied for being filed out of the reglamentary period.

On appeal through certiorari to the Court of Appeals, the court ruled on the existence of an employer-employee relationship and reversed the NLRC decision by reinstating the Labor Arbiters decision instead with modification to the award for damages.

ISSUE:

Whether or not the Court of Appeals committed error in reversing the NLRC decision.

HELD:

Petitioner is correct in its argument that there must first be a finding on whether the NLRC committed grave abuse of discretion and on what these acts were.In this case, the CA seemed to have forgotten that its function in resolving a petition for certiorari was to determine whether there was grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction on the part of public respondent NLRC.The CA proceeded to review the records and to rule on issues that were no longer disputed during the appeal to the NLRC, such as the existence of an employer-employee relationship.The pivotal issue before the NLRC was whether petitioners telling respondent to take a rest, or to have a break, was already a positive act of dismissing him.

Furthermore, the NLRC Resolution that reversed the LA Decision had nothing in it that was whimsical, unreasonable or patentlyviolative of the law.It was the CA which erred in finding faults that were inexistent in the NLRC Resolution.

In addition to this, the CA erroneously modified the NLRC decision when it can no longer be modified for being filed out of time. It is not a mere technicality that the CA may brush aside. The NLRC Resolution sought to be set aside had become final and executory 25 days before respondent filed his Motion for Reconsideration.Thus, subsequent proceedings and modifications are not allowed and are deemed null and void.

Popular Posts