Case Digest: Basay, et al. v. Hacienda Consolacion, et al.

G.R. No. 175532 : April 19, 2010




Respondents hired petitioners Romeo Basay in 1967 and Julian Literal in 1984, as tractor operators, and petitioner Julian Abueva in 1989, as laborer, in the hacienda devoted for sugar cane plantation.

On August 29, 2001, petitioners filed a complaint for illegal dismissal with monetary claims against respondents. They alleged that sometime in July 2001, respondents verbally informed them to stop working. Thereafter, they were not given work assignments despite their status as regular employees. They alleged that their termination was done in violation of their right to substantive and procedural due process. Petitioners also claimed violation of Minimum Wage Law and non-payment of overtime pay, premium pay for holiday and rest day, five days service incentive leave pay, separation pay and 13th month pay. They also prayed for damages and attorneys fees.

Respondents denied petitioners allegations. As regards Abueva, respondents averred that he is not an employee but a mere contractor in the hacienda. According to respondents, Abueva hired other men to perform weeding jobs and even entered into contract with neighboring haciendas for similar jobs. Respondents alleged that Abuevas name does not appear in the payroll, thus indicating that he is not an employee. As such, there can be no dismissal to speak of, much less an illegal dismissal.

With regard to petitioners Literal and Basay, respondents admitted that both are regular employees, each receiving P130.00 per days work as evidenced by a Master Voucher. However, respondents denied having illegally dismissed them and asserted that they abandoned their jobs.

Respondents alleged that Literal was facing charges of misconduct, insubordination, damaging and taking advantage of hacienda property, and unauthorized cultivation of a portion of the hacienda. Literal was ordered to explain; instead of complying, Literal did not anymore report for work. Instead, he filed a complaint for illegal dismissal.

Respondents asserted that they sent a representative to convince petitioners to return but to no avail. Respondents maintained that they have been religiously giving 13th month pay to their employees as evidenced by a voucher corresponding to year 2000.

The Labor Arbiter exonerated respondents from the charge of illegal dismissal as petitioners were the ones who did not report for work despite respondents call. The Labor Arbiter, however, awarded petitioners claim of 13th month pay and salary differentials.

Both parties sought recourse to the NLRC. Petitioners filed a Partial Appeal to the Decision declaring respondents not guilty of illegal dismissal. They argued that there was no proof of clear and deliberate intent to abandon their work. On the contrary, their filing of an illegal dismissal case negates the intention to abandon. Petitioners likewise alleged that respondents failed to observe procedural due process.

Respondents, for their part, filed a Memorandum on Appeal with respect to the award of salary differentials and 13th month pay to petitioners. Respondents averred that the Labor Arbiter erred in finding that petitioners are entitled to receive a minimum wage ofP145.00/day instead of P130.00/day which is the minimum wage rate for sugarcane workers in Negros Oriental per Wage Order No. ROVII-07. Respondents likewise presented vouchers to prove payment of 13th month pay for the years 1998 and 1999.

The NLRC affirmed the decision of the LA with modification that complainants Julian Literal and Romeo Basay are not entitled to their claims for salary differentials and 13th month pay for lack of legal basis. However, respondents are ordered to pay complainants Julian Literal and Romeo Basay proportionate 13th month pay computed from January 1, 2001 to August 29, 2001.

The CA dismissed the petition and affirmed the findings of the NLRC. Hence, this appeal.


Whether petitioners were illegally dismissed and are entitled to their money claims.

HELD: Court of Appeals decision is partially sustained.


We are not persuaded by petitioners contention that nothing was presented to establish their intention of abandoning their work, or that the fact that they filed a complaint for illegal dismissal negates the theory of abandonment.

It bears emphasizing that this case does not involve termination of employment on the ground of abandonment. As earlier discussed, there is no evidence showing that petitioners were actually dismissed. Petitioners filing of a complaint for illegal dismissal, irrespective of whether reinstatement or separation pay was prayed for, could not by itself be the sole consideration in determining whether they have been illegally dismissed. All circumstances surrounding the alleged termination should also be taken into account.

In Abad v. Roselle Cinema, G.R. No. 141371, March 24, 2006 we ruled that the substantial evidence proffered by the employer that it had not terminated the employee should not be ignored on the pretext that the employee would not have filed the complaint for illegal dismissal if he had not really been dismissed. We held that such non sequitur reasoning cannot take the place of the evidence of both the employer and the employee.

Given that there was no dismissal to speak of, there can be no question as to the legality or illegality thereof.


Basay and Literal are entitled to salary differentials for two years and proportionate 13th month pay from January 1-29, 2001. Abueva is not an employee, thus not entitled to his claims.


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