Case Digest: Garcia v. KJ Commercial

G.R. No. 196830 : February 29, 2012

CESAR V. GARCIA, CARLOS RAZON, ALBERTO DE GUZMAN, TOMAS RAZON, OMER E. PALO, RIZALDE VALENCIA, ALLAN BASA, JESSIE GARCIA, JUANITO PARAS, ALEJANDRO ORAG, ROMMEL PANGAN,RUEL SOLIMAN, and CENEN CANLAPAN, represented by CESAR V. GARCIA, Petitioners, v. KJ COMMERCIAL and REYNALDO QUE, Respondents.

CARPIO, J.:

FACTS:


On different dates, respondent KJ Commercial employed the petitioners as truck drivers and truck helpers.Petitioners filed with the Labor Arbiter a complaint for illegal dismissal against respondent. The Labor Arbiter held that KJ Commercial illegally dismissed petitioners. KJ Commercial appealed to the NLRC and filed a motion to reduce bond and posted a P50,000 cash bond. The NLRC dismissed the appeal. KJ Commercial filed a motion for reconsideration and posted a P2,562,930.00 surety bond. In its 8 February 2010 Resolution, the NLRC granted the motion and set aside the Labor Arbiters Decision. The Court of Appeals affirmed the NLRCs Resolution.

Petitioners contend that the Labor Arbiters Decision became final and executory; thus, the NLRCs 8 February and 25 June 2010 Resolutions and the Court of Appeals Decision are void for lack of jurisdiction. Petitioners claim that KJ Commercial failed to perfect an appeal since the motion to reduce bond did not stop the running of the period to appeal.

ISSUE: Whether or not the NLRC erred in giving due course to the respondents appeal.

HELD: Court of Appeals decision is affirmed.

LABOR LAW:


When petitioners filed with the Court of Appeals a petition for certiorari, they did not raise as issue that the Labor Arbiters Decision had become final and executory. Petitioners cannot, for the first time, raise as issue that the Labor Arbiters Decision had become final and executory. Points of law, theories and arguments not raised before the Court of Appeals will not be considered, otherwise, KJ Commercial will be denied its right to due process.

KJ Commercials filing of a motion to reduce bond and delayed posting of the surety bond did not render the Labor Arbiters Decision final and executory. The Rules of Procedure of the NLRC allows the filing of a motion to reduce bond subject to two conditions: (1) there is meritorious ground, and (2) a bond in a reasonable amount is posted.

The NLRC has full discretion to grant or deny the motion to reduce bond, and it may rule on the motion beyond the 10-day period within which to perfect an appeal. Obviously, at the time of the filing of the motion to reduce bond and posting of a bond in a reasonable amount, there is no assurance whether the appellants motion is indeed based on meritorious ground and whether the bond he or she posted is of a reasonable amount. Thus, the appellant always runs the risk of failing to perfect an appeal.

Section 2, Article I of the Rules of Procedure of the NLRC states that, These Rules shall be liberally construed to carry out the objectives of the Constitution, the Labor Code of the Philippines and other relevant legislations, and to assist the parties in obtaining just, expeditious and inexpensive resolution and settlement of labor disputes. In order to give full effect to the provisions on motion to reduce bond, the appellant must be allowed to wait for the ruling of the NLRC on the motion even beyond the 10-day period to perfect an appeal. If the NLRC grants the motion and rules that there is indeed meritorious ground and that the amount of the bond posted is reasonable, then the appeal is perfected. If the NLRC denies the motion, the appellant may still file a motion for reconsideration as provided under Section 15, Rule VII of the Rules. If the NLRC grants the motion for reconsideration and rules that there is indeed meritorious ground and that the amount of the bond posted is reasonable, then the appeal is perfected. If the NLRC denies the motion, then the decision of the labor arbiter becomes final and executory.

In the present case, KJ Commercial filed a motion to reduce bond and posted a P50,000 cash bond. When the NLRC denied its motion, KJ Commercial filed a motion for reconsideration and posted the full P2,562,930 surety bond. The NLRC then granted the motion for reconsideration. In any case, the rule that the filing of a motion to reduce bond shall not stop the running of the period to perfect an appeal is not absolute. KJ Commercial showed willingness to post a partial bond. In fact, it posted a P50,000 cash bond. Aside from posting a partial bond, KJ Commercial immediately posted the full amount of the bond when it filed its motion for reconsideration of the NLRCs Decision.

DENIED

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