Case Digest: Gagui v. Dejero

G.R. No. 196036 : OCTOBER 23, 2013




On 14 December 1993, respondents Simeon Dejero and Teodoro Permejo filed separate Complaints for illegal dismissal, nonpayment of salaries and overtime pay, refund of transportation expenses, damages, and attorney fees against PRO Agency Manila, Inc., and Abdul Rahman Al Mahwes.

The Labor Arbiter Pedro Ramos rendered a decision ordering respondents Pro Agecy Manila Inc., and Abdul Rahman Al Mahwes to pay complainants. The LA also issued a Writ of Execution. When the writ was returned unsatisfied, an Alias Writ of Execution was issued, but was also returned unsatisfied.

Respondents filed a Motion to Implead Respondent Pro Agency Manila, Inc. Corporate Officers and Directors as Judgment Debtor. It included petitioner as the Vice-president/Stockholder/Director of PRO Agenct, Manila, Inc. The LA granted the motion.

A 2nd Alias Writ of Execution was issued, which resulted in the garnishment of petitioner bank deposit in the amount of P85,430.48. Since, judgment remained unsatisfied, respondents sought a 3rd alias writ of execution. The motion was granted resulting in the levying of two parcels of lot owned by petitioner located in San Fernando Pampanga.

Petitioner filed a Motion to Quash 3rd Alias Writ of Execution. Petitioner alleged that apart from not being made aware that she was impleaded as one of the parties to the case, the LA decision did not hold her liable in any form whatsoever. Executive Labor Arbiter denied the motion.

Upon appeal, NLRC denied the appeal for lack of merit. NLRC ruled that in so far as overseas migrant workers are concerned, it is R.A. 8042 itself that describes the nature of the liability of the corporation and its officers and directors. It is not essential that the individual officers and directors be impleaded as party respondents to the case instituted by the worker. A finding of liability on the part of the corporation will necessarily mean the liability of the corporate officers or directors.

The CA affirmed the NLRC decision. The two Motions for Reconsideration were denied.

ISSUE: Whether or not petitioner may be held jointly and severally liable with PRO Agency Manila, Inc. in accordance with Section 10 of R.A. 8042?

HELD: The Petitioner may not be held jointly and severally liable.

LABOR LAW: liability of corporate officers

The pertinent portion of Section 10, R.A. 8042 reads as follows: The liability of the principal/employer and the recruitment/placement agency for any and all claims under this section shall be joint and several. This provision shall be incorporated in the contract for overseas employment and shall be a condition precedent for its approval.

In Sto. Tomas v. Salac, we had the opportunity to pass upon the constitutionality of this provision. We have thus maintained: the Court has already held, pending adjudication of this case, that the liability of corporate directors and officers is not automatic. To make them jointly and solidarily liable with their company, there must be a finding that they were remiss in directing the affairs of that company, such as sponsoring or tolerating the conduct of illegal activities.

Hence, for petitioner to be found jointly and solidarily liable, there must be a separate finding that she was remiss in directing the affairs of the agency, resulting in the illegal dismissal of respondents. Examination of the records would reveal that there was no finding of neglect on the part of the petitioner in directing the affairs of the agency. In fact, respondents made no mention of any instance when petitioner allegedly failed to manage the agency in accordance with law, thereby contributing to their illegal dismissal.

Petition for review on certiorari is GRANTED.