Case Digest: Alcantara v. PCIB

G.R. No. 151349: October 20, 2010




The petitioner, Leandro M. Alcantara, had been an employee of PCIB from August 15, 1974.

Respondents alleged that on December 12, 1997, a certain Romy Espiritu called the office of Ms. Ana Lim of its Customer Care reporting the alleged involvement of the [petitioner] with a big syndicate. Two Certificates of Time Deposit (CTD) issued by PCIB were allegedly being used by the syndicate in their illegal activities.

The [petitioner] was dismissed from employment because it was allegedly determined that the [petitioner] took advantage of the trust and confidence reposed in his position as branch manager and "falsified Bank records in order to facilitate a transaction amounting toP538,360,000.00 that was prejudicial to the welfare and interest of the Bank".

Petitioner filed with the Regional Arbitration Branch of the NLRC a complaint for illegal dismissal among others.

Labor Arbiter dismissed petitioners complaint for illegal dismissal for lack of merit in a Decision wherein it was held that there was substantial evidence that petitioner manipulated the records of respondent to facilitate the anomalous transactions of the members of the alleged criminal syndicate.

Petitioner appealed the Labor Arbiters Decision. However, the NLRC affirmed the same and dismissed petitioners appeal for lack of merit in a Resolution. Undaunted, petitioner filed a Motion for Reconsideration but the same was denied by the NLRC in a Resolution. Thus, petitioner filed a petition forcertiorariunder Rule 65 of the Rules of Court. This petition was dismissed by the Court of on account of petitioners failure to attach the material portions of the records of the NLRC case, and various relevant or pertinent documents, in accordance with paragraph 3, Section 3, Rule 46 of the 1997 Revised Rules of Civil Procedure.Petitioner subsequently filed a Motion for Reconsideration but this was denied by the Court of Appeals in a Resolution.

Whether or not petitioner is illegally dismissed?


Loss of confidence as a just cause for termination of employment is premised from the fact that an employee concerned holds a position of trust and confidence. This situation holds where a person is entrusted with confidence on delicate matters, such as the custody, handling, or care and protection of the employer's property. But, in order to constitute a just cause for dismissal, the act complained of must be "work-related" such as would show the employee concerned to be unfit to continue working for the employer.

As Branch Manager of the Rizal Avenue-Doroteo Jose Branch of the respondent bank, petitioner undoubtedly held a position of trust and confidence. Furthermore, the June 18, 1998 Decision of respondents Bankwide Evaluation Committee, the relevant portions of which are discussed in the narration of the facts of this case as culled from the March 26, 2001 NLRC Resolution, clearly laid out the reasons why it imposed on petitioner, "the principal penalty of DISMISSAL FROM EMPLOYMENT with automatic forfeiture of benefits."

As a general rule, employers are allowed a wider latitude of discretion in terminating the employment of managerial personnel or those who, while not of similar rank, perform functions which by their nature require the employer's full trust and confidence. This must be distinguished from the case of ordinary rank and file employees, whose termination on the basis of these same grounds requires a higher proof of involvement in the events in question; mere uncorroborated assertions and accusations by the employer will not suffice.

On the issue of due process, it is settled that notice and hearing constitute the essential elements of due process in the dismissal of employees. The employer must furnish the employee with two written notices before termination of employment can be legally effected. The first apprises the employee of the particular acts or omissions for which his dismissal is sought. The second informs the employee of the employers decision to dismiss him. With regard to the requirement of a hearing, the essence of due process lies simply in an opportunity to be heard, and not that an actual hearing should always and indispensably be held.

Judging from the aforementioned undisputed sequence of events, it is apt to conclude that respondent more than acted in accordance with the due process required in the termination of an employee. It gave petitioner considerable leeway with regard to the submission of his written explanation by allowing multiple extensions of time to submit the same and by furnishing him the documents used in respondents investigation. Ultimately, even assuming that he was not fully heard during the employers investigation, it was petitioner's fault because of his misguided insistence on having a trial-type hearing despite established jurisprudence stating that the mere opportunity to be heard would suffice as due process in administrative proceedings. In any event, petitioner was given full opportunity to prove his claim of illegal dismissal before the Labor Arbiter and the NLRC but he still failed to discharge his burden of proof.