Case Digest: Bello v. BSS & Tomas

G.R. No. 188086: August 3, 2011

FRANCIS BELLO, represented herein by his daughter and attorney-in-fact, Geraldine Bello-Ona,Petitioner, v. BONIFACIO SECURITY SERVICES, INC. and SAMUEL TOMAS, Respondents.



In July 2001, Bonifacio Security Services, Inc. (BSSI) hired Bello as a roving traffic marshal to manage traffic and to conduct security and safety-related operations in the Bonifacio Global City (BGC). In November 2001, he was assigned at BGC as assistant detachment commander. After a week, he was transferred to Pacific Plaza Towers as assistant detachment commander and later as detachment commander. In June 2002, he was assigned at Pier 2, North Harbor as assistant detachment commander, but later reassigned to BGC. In August 2002, the BSSI hired a new operations manager, resulting in the reorganization of posts. In October 2002, Bello was assigned as roving traffic marshal at the BGC. On October 25, 2002, he filed an indefinite leave of absence when his new assignment took effect.

On November 5, 2002, Bello filed a complaint against the BSSI and its General Manager, respondent Samuel Tomas, with the NLRC claiming that he had been constructively dismissed when he was demoted from a detachment commander to a mere traffic marshal. He alleged that he received a series of promotions from 2001 to 2002, from traffic marshal to supervisor, to assistant detachment commander, and to detachment commander.

The BSSI denied Bello claim of constructive dismissal, arguing that no promotion took place; Bello designation as assistant detachment commander or detachment commander was not an employment position but a duty-related assignment; Bello abandoned his job when he went on an indefinite leave of absence and did not report for work.

The Court of Appeals nullified the LA and NLRC resolutions, finding the records bereft of evidence substantiating the labor arbiter and the NLRC conclusions that Bello had been constructively dismissed. It noted that Bello offered no evidence to prove that there was a series of promotions that would justify his claim of subsequent demotion.

When Bello filed the present petition, BSSI prayed for the petition outright dismissal due to a defective verification, arguing that the special power of attorney (SPA) of Bello attorney-in-fact, Geraldine Bello-Ona, was limited to representing him in the NLRC case only and not to the present petition; and that Bello-Ona has no personal knowledge of the allegations in the petition.


1. Whether or not the petition should be dismissed outright for defective verification?

2. Whether the CA erred in annulling the NLRC resolutions?

HELD: The decision of the Court of Appeals is upheld.


Verification of a pleading is a formal, not jurisdictional, requirement intended to secure the assurance that the matters alleged in a pleading are true and correct.Thus, the court may simply order the correction of unverified pleadings or act on them and waive strict compliance with the rules. It is deemed substantially complied with when one who has ample knowledge to swear to the truth of the allegations in the complaint or petition signs the verification, and when matters alleged in the petition have been made in good faith or are true and correct.

In this case, the Court found that the petition verification substantially complied with the requirements of the rules. The SPA authorized Bello-Ona to represent Bello, as the daughter of Bello, Bello-Ona is deemed to have sufficient knowledge to swear to the truth of the allegations in the petition, which are matters of record in the tribunals and the appellate court below.


Case law defines constructive dismissal as a cessation of work because continued employment has been rendered impossible, unreasonable, or unlikely, as when there is a demotion in rank or diminution in pay, or both, or when a clear discrimination, insensibility, or disdain by an employer becomes unbearable to the employee.

It is noted that other than his bare and self-serving allegations, Bello has not offered any evidence that he was promoted in a span of four months since his employment as traffic marshal in July 2001 to a detachment commander in November 2001. During his six-month probationary period of employment, it is highly improbable that Bello would be promoted after just a month of employment, from a traffic marshal in July 2001 to supervisor in August 2001, and three months later to assistant detachment commander and to detachment commander in November 2001. At most, the BSSI merely changed his assignment or transferred him to the post where his service would be most beneficial to its clients. The management's prerogative of transferring and reassigning employees from one area of operation to another in order to meet the requirements of the business is generally not constitutive of constructive dismissal. This seems to be the case in the present dispute so that the consequent reassignment of Bello to a traffic marshal post was well within the scope of the BSSI management prerogative.