Case Digest: Millennium Erectors Corporation v. Magallanes

GR No. 184362: November 15, 2010

Millennium Erectors Corporation, Petitioner, v. Virgilio Magallanes, Respondent

Carpio-Morales, J.:


FACTS:

Magallanes is a utility man working for Tiu, the CEO of Respondent. In July 2004, he was dismissed because of old age, which prompted him to file an illegal dismissal complaint before the Labour Arbiter. Petitioner filed a position paper arguing that respondent was a project employee whom it hired for a building project in Libis on January 30, 2003, to prove which it submitted the employment contract signed by him;that on August 3, 2004, respondents services were terminated as the project was nearing completion;and he was given financial assistance in the amount ofP2,000, for which he signed a quitclaim and waiver.

The Labour Arbiter ruled in favour of petitioner, holding that respondent knew of his status as project employee, and that the project was completed. On appeal to the NLRC, it held that Respondent was a regular employee, and because of the payrolls, it is evident that Respondent was employed for 16 years. The NLRC thus concluded that while respondents work as a utility man may not have been necessary or desirable in the usual business of petitioner as a construction company, that he performed the same functions continuously for 16 years converted an otherwise casual employment to regular employment, hence, his termination without just or authorized cause amounted to illegal dismissal.

Petitioner filed an MR which was denied, alleging that motion for reconsideration which it treated as an appeal was not perfected, it having been belatedly filed. The CA affirmed this stance, on appeal by Petitioner.

The petitioners file a petition for review on certiorari.

ISSUE:

1. Whether or not the dismissal of the Labour Arbiter has become final and executor because of the failure of the requirements for the perfection of appeal


HELD:

No. Petition fails.

Labor Law: Procedural Rules and Technicalities


In labor cases, rules of procedure should not be applied in a very rigid and technical sense.They are merely tools designed to facilitate the attainment of justice, and where their strict application would result in the frustration rather than promotion of substantial justice, technicalities must be avoided.

The requirement regarding verification of a pleading is formal, not jurisdictional. Such requirement is simply a condition affecting the form of pleading, the non-compliance of which does not necessarily render the pleading fatally defective.

As for the requirement on proof of service, it may also be dispensed with since in appeals in labor cases, non-service of copy of the appeal or appeal memorandum to the adverse party is not a jurisdictional defect which calls for the dismissal of the appeal.

Labor Law: Project employees

The repeated and continuing need for respondent's services is sufficient evidence of the necessity, if not indispensability, of services to petitioner's business and, as a regular employee, he could only be dismissed from employment for a just or authorized cause.

Petition DENIED.

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