Case Digest: PLDT v. Honrado

G.R. No. 189366 : December 8, 2010

PHILIPPINE LONG DISTANCE TELEPHONE COMPANY, Petitioner, v. EUSEBIO M. HONRADO, Respondent.

DELCASTILLO,J.:

FACTS:

Spouses Mueda went to PLDTs Quality Control Division (QCD) to verify their application for telephone because according to them, a person named Rony Hipolito who introduced himself as a PLDT employee went to their house. Spouses Mueda narrated that Hipolito told them that he is the area inspector assigned therein and that"okay na ang linya ng PLDT dito sa area ng Kalayaan, pwede ng magbayad ng kalahati, pero hindi pa pwedeng magpakabit ngayon dahil Sabado at ipapriority and teleponong ikakabit sa amin dahil nagda-down kami". Because of this, they paid HipolitoP1,500.00 as partial payment for the installation of their new telephone line; that Hipolito even signed a receipt and gave a contact number.

At the QCD, Spouses Mueda found out that the act of Hipolito in soliciting and receiving P1,500.00 as down payment for installation of a new telephone line is against the policy of herein petitioner. Hence, the QCD conducted a stake out operation at the PLDT North Paraque Exchange to [determine] the identity of Rony Hipolito. When herein private respondent Honrado handed hisTripAuthorizationPass(TAP for brevity) to the guard on duty at the gate of the PLDT North Paraque Exchange, he was positively identified by Mrs. Mueda as the person who solicited and received the money from her and her husband. A confrontation [proceeding] between private respondent and Mrs. Mueda was conducted at the QCD.After formal hearing, private respondent was notified that he was dismissed from service.

Consequently, respondent Honrado filed a complaint for illegal dismissal, money claims and damages against petitioner PLDT which was dismissed by the Labor Arbiter. However, the NLRC set aside the decision which was affirmed by the CA.

ISSUES:

I. Whether or not there is sufficient basis to support the cause for the respondent's termination

II. Whether or not respondent Honrado was denied due process of law.


HELD: The petition has merit.

LABOR LAW; TERMINATION OF EMPLOYMENT; JUST CAUSE


First Issue: There is sufficient basis for respondent's dismissal. Petitioner has sufficiently established that respondent Honrado solicited, collected and received theP1,500.00 down payment. First, the PLDT QCD Investigator together with Mrs. Mueda conducted a stake-out operation to expose the identity of the person who asked for the downpayment.Honrado was identified by Mrs. Mueda. Second, Mrs. Mueda categorically affirmed, during the confrontation proceeding, that it was indeed Honrado who solicited and received the downpayment. Third, corroborating evidence in the form of the affidavits of the spouses Mueda were submitted by the petitioner, together with the receipt issued for the downpayment.Taken together, the petitioner has dispensed with the burden of establishing the serious misconduct committed by respondent Honrado.Such misconduct makes him unworthy of the trust and confidence demanded by his position.

LABOR LAW; TERMINATION OF EMPLOYMENT; DUE PROCESS

Second Issue: The respondent was accorded due process. A confrontation proceeding between respondent Honrado and the therein complainant Mrs. Mueda conducted at petitioner's QCD office. Upon the identification of the respondent as the person who solicited, collected and received the downpayment for the purported installation of therein complainants telephone service, respondent was apprised of the charges against him as well as his rights. Thereafter, respondent was notified by way of an Inter-Office Memo of the formal charges against him and was required to explain in writing "why [he] should not be dismissed for serious misconduct."Subsequently, respondent Honrado received, through Inter-Office Memo, a Notice of Termination informing him that after a careful evaluation of his case, he was found liable as charged and dismissed from the service due to gross misconduct.

The requisites of due process were satisfied in that: (1) private respondent was served with written notice specifying the ground for his termination; (2) a formal hearing was conducted with the assistance of his counsel; (3) and he was served with written notice of termination indicating the grounds to justify it.

GRANTED.

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