CASE DIGEST: Eastern Mediterranean v. Surio

G.R. No. 154213 : August 23, 2012

EASTERN MEDITERRANEAN MARITIME LTD. AND AGEMAR MANNING AGENCY, INC., Petitioners, v. ESTANISLAO SURIO, FREDDIE PALGUIRAN, GRACIANO MORALES, HENRY CASTILLO, ARISTOTLE ARREOLA, ALEXANDER YGOT, ANRIQUE BATTUNG, GREGORIO ALDOVINO, NARCISO FRIAS, VICTOR FLORES, SAMUEL MARCIAL, CARLITO PALGUIRAN, DUQUE VINLUAN, JESUS MENDEGORIN, NEIL FLORES, ROMEO MANGALIAG, JOE GARFIN and SALESTINO SUSA, Respondents.

BERSAMIN, J.:


FACTS:

Respondents Estanislao Surio, et al. were former crewmembers of MT Seadance, a vessel owned by petitioner Eastern Mediterranean Maritime Ltd. (Eastern). On December 23, 1993, Eastern filed against Surio, et al. a complaint for disciplinary action based on breach of discipline and for the reimbursement of the wage increases in the Workers Assistance and Adjudication Office of the POEA.

During the pendency of the administrative complaint in the POEA, R.A. No. 8042 (Migrant Workers and Overseas Filipinos Act of 1995) took effect on July 15, 1995. Section 10 of R.A. No. 8042 vested original and exclusive jurisdiction over all money claims arising out of employer-employee relationships involving overseas Filipino workers in the Labor Arbiters. The jurisdiction over such claims was previously exercised by the POEA under the POEA Rules and Regulations of 1991 (1991 POEA Rules).

The POEA dismissed the complaint for disciplinary action. Eastern elevated the matter to the NLRC. The NLRC also dismissed the appeal for lack of jurisdiction. Likewise, the CA also denied the Easterns petition.

ISSUE: Whether or not the NLRC has jurisdiction to review on appeal cases decided by the POEA on matters pertaining to disciplinary actions?

HELD: The petition for review lacks merit.

LABOR LAW: jurisdiction of appeal from POEAs decision pertaining to disciplinary actions


Although Republic Act No. 8042, through its Section 10, transferred the original and exclusive jurisdiction to hear and decide money claims involving overseas Filipino workers from the POEA to the Labor Arbiters, the law did not remove from the POEA the original and exclusive jurisdiction to hear and decide all disciplinary action cases and other special cases administrative in character involving such workers.

When Republic Act No. 8042 withheld the appellate jurisdiction of the NLRC in respect of cases decided by the POEA, the appellate jurisdiction was vested in the Secretary of Labor in accordance with his power of supervision and control under Section 38(1), Chapter 7, Title II, Book III of the Revised Administrative Code of 1987.

In conclusion, we hold that petitioners should have appealed the adverse decision of the POEA to the Secretary of Labor instead of to the NLRC.

Court of Appeals decision AFFIRMED.

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