Case Digest: The New Philippine Skylanders v. Dakila

G.R. No. 199547 : September 24, 2012




Respondent Francisco Dakila (Dakila) was employed by The New Philippine Skylanders, Inc. (Skylanders) as early as 1987 and terminated for cause in April 1997 when the corporation was sold. In May 1997, he was rehired as consultant by Skylanders under a Contract for Consultancy Services.

Thereafter, in a letter dated April 19, 2007, Dakila informed Skylanders of his compulsory retirement effective May 2, 2007 and sought for the payment of his retirement benefits. His request, however, was not acted upon. Instead, he was terminated from service effective May 1, 2007.

Thus, Dakila filed a complaint for constructive illegal dismissal. He averred that the consultancy contract was a scheme to deprive him of the benefits of regularization, claiming to have assumed tasks necessary and desirable in the trade or business of Skylanders and under their direct control and supervision. On the contrary, Skylanders argued that Dakila was not their regular employee as he was not required to observe regular working hours and was free to adopt means and methods to accomplish his task except as to the results of the work required of him.Hence, no employer- employee relationship existed between them.

Both the Labor Arbiter and the NLRC ruled that Dakila was illegally dismissed. The Court of Appeals affirmed the findings of the Labor Arbiter and the NLRC.

ISSUE: Whether or not Dakila was illegally dismissed?

HELD: The petition is partly granted.

LABOR LAW: illegal dismissal

The issue of illegal dismissal is premised on the existence of an employer-employee relationship between the parties herein.Records reveal that both the LA and the NLRC, as affirmed by the CA, have found substantial evidence to show that respondent Dakila was a regular employee who was dismissed without cause.

Following Article 279 of the Labor Code, an employee who is unjustly dismissed from work is entitled to reinstatement without loss of seniority rights and other privileges and to his full backwages computed from the time he was illegally dismissed. However, considering that respondent Dakila was terminated on May 1, 2007, or one (1) day prior to his compulsory retirement on May 2, 2007, his reinstatement is no longer feasible. His backwages should be computed only for days prior to his compulsory retirement which in this case is only a day.