Case Digest: Oasay v. Palacio Del Gobernador

G.R. No. 194306 : February 6, 2012




Respondent Palacio Del Gobernador Condominium Corporation (PDGCC) is a government-owned and controlled corporation organized for the purpose of owning and arranging the common areas of Palacio Del Gobernador Condominium. The said condominium, all the units therein having been acquired by the government, houses various government agencies such as the Commission on Elections (COMELEC), Bureau of Treasury and the Intramuros.

The Board of Directors of PDGCC, through its Board Resolution No. 013 dated October 27, 1994, appointed the petitioner as its permanent Building Administrator effective September 1, 1994.

PDGCC President Omar T. Cruz (Cruz) required the petitioner to submit a written report on the allowances and other compensation, in connection with his duties as Building Administrator, that he received from the government offices housed in the condominium. Apparently, the petitioner had been earning additional income for services that he rendered for the COMELEC.

Petitioner submitted his written report wherein he admitted that he had received additional compensation from the COMELEC for services which he rendered after his regular working hours and on Saturdays, Sundays and holidays. He explained that the COMELEC had caused the rehabilitation of the 8th floor of the condominium and that he was tasked by the former, for a stated compensation, to supervise and monitor the rehabilitation.

After investigating the allegations against the petitioner, Atty. Bernardo recommended to Cruz and the PDGCC Board of Directors the filing of appropriate charges against the petitioner for violation of Republic Act No. 3019 (Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act) and Republic Act No. 6713 (Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees).

Cruz then directed the petitioner to turn over all of his accountabilities to PDGCC. The foregoing was acknowledged by the petitioner in his letter to the PDGCC Board of Directors dated November 17, 2006.

Nevertheless, on January 23, 2007, the petitioner filed a Complaint for constructive dismissal with the arbitration branch of the National Labor Relations Commission (NLRC) in Quezon City against PDGCC and Cruz.

The Labor Arbiter (LA) rendered a Decision dismissing the petitioners complaint, finding that there was substantial evidence to conclude that the petitioner had breached the trust and confidence of PDGCC. The NLRC affirmed the LA decision. Petitioner filed a petition for certiorari before the CA but the same was denied. Undaunted, the petitioner instituted the instant petition for review on certiorari before this Court.

ISSUE: Whether or not the dismissal by reason of breach of trust was valid

HELD: Yes.

Labor Law

The first requisite for dismissal on the ground of loss of trust and confidence is that the employee concerned must be holding a position of trust and confidence.

Here, it is indubitable that the petitioner holds a position of trust and confidence. The position of Building Administrator, being managerial in nature, necessarily enjoys the trust and confidence of the employer.

The second requisite is that there must be an act that would justify the loss of trust and confidence. Loss of trust and confidence, to be a valid cause for dismissal, must be based on a willful breach of trust and founded on clearly established facts. The basis for the dismissal must be clearly and convincingly established but proof beyond reasonable doubt is not necessary.

PDGCC had established, by clear and convincing evidence, the petitioners acts which justified its loss of trust and confidence on the former. On this score, the LA keenly observed that:

Complainants breach of the trust reposed in him as Building Administrator is sufficiently supported by the evidence on record. Complainants admission that he received remuneration from Commission on Elections (COMELEC) whose office is housed at respondent Palacio Del Gobernador Condominium justified his termination of employment. Complainant cannot assert that he rendered services to COMELEC only after office hours as his functions as Building Coordinator would definitely have favored COMELEC in the performance of his functions during regular office hours.

Likewise, as Building Administrator, his active vigilance in reporting and informing the respondents as to the expired license to operate of the EGB Security Agency and its revoked SEC Certificate of Registration was his duty and look-out. In the instant case, complainant instead of informing the respondents, kept this information from the knowledge of the respondents and allowed the security agency to render security services to the premises of respondents despite its expired license and revoked SEC Certificate of Registration.

What escapes the foregoing argument of the petitioner is that he is an employee of PDGCC and not of the COMELEC. It is undisputed that PDGCC did not authorize nor was it informed of the services rendered by the petitioner in favor of the COMELEC. To make matters worse, the said services rendered by the petitioner are, essentially, related to the performance of his duties as a Building Administrator of the condominium.