Case Digest: Legend International Resorts v. KML-INDEPENDENT

G.R. No. 169754 : February 23, 2011

LEGEND INTERNATIONAL RESORTS LIMITED, Petitioner, v. KILUSANG MANGGAGAWA NG LEGENDA (KML-INDEPENDENT), Respondent.

DEL CASTILLO, J.:


FACTS:

KML filed with the Med-Arbitration Unit of the DOLE, San Fernando, Pampanga, a Petition for Certification Election. LEGEND moved to dismiss the petition alleging that KML is not a legitimate labor organization because its membership is a mixture of rank and file and supervisory employees in violation of Article 245 of the Labor Code. KML argued that even if 41 of its members are indeed supervisory employees and therefore excluded from its membership, the certification election could still proceed because the required number of the total rank and file employees necessary for certification purposes is still sustained. KML also claimed that its legitimacy as a labor union could not be collaterally attacked in the certification election proceedings but only through a separate and independent action for cancellation of union registration.

The Med-Arbiter rendered judgment dismissing for lack of merit the petition for certification election. Since Article 245 of the Labor Code expressly prohibits supervisory employees from joining the union of rank and file employees, the Med-Arbiter concluded that KML is not a legitimate labor organization.

The Office of the Secretary of DOLE rendered its Decision granting KML’s appeal thereby reversing and setting aside the Med-Arbiter’s Decision. The Office of the Secretary of DOLE held that KML’s legitimacy as a union could not be collaterally attacked. It declared that any violation of the provision of Article 245 does not ipso facto render the existence of the labor organization illegal.

LEGEND filed a Petition for Certiorari with the Court of Appeals , which found no grave abuse of discretion on the part of the Office of the Secretary of DOLE. LEGEND filed a Petition for Certiorari with the Court of Appeals. held that the issue on the legitimacy of KML as a labor organization has already been settled with finality in Case No. RO300-0108-CP-001. The March 26, 2002 Decision of the Bureau of Labor Relations upholding the legitimacy of KML as a labor organization had long become final and executory for failure of LEGEND to appeal the same.

ISSUE: Whether or not the the CA erred in denying the petition for certiorari.


HELD:

The petition is partly meritorious.

LABOR LAW: Certification election


Records show that (in the cancellation of registration case) LEGEND has timely filed on September 6, 2002 a petition forcertiorari before the Court of Appeals which was docketed as CA-G.R. SP No. 72659 assailing the March 26, 2002 Decision of the Bureau of Labor Relations.

However, a certification election may still be conducted during the pendency of the cancellation proceedings. This is because at the time the petition for certification was filed, the petitioning union is presumed to possess the legal personality to file the same. There is therefore no basis for LEGEND’s assertion that the cancellation of KML’s certificate of registration should retroact to the time of its issuance or that it effectively nullified all of KML’s activities, including its filing of the petition for certification election and its demand to collectively bargain. Also, the legitimacy of the legal personality of KML cannot be collaterally attacked in a petition for certification election proceeding.

Petition is PARTLY GRANTED. The CA Decision insofar as it affirms the Secretary's Decision is AFFIRMED.

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