Case Digest: Sanden & Ang v. Rosales

G.R. No. 169260: March 23, 2011




Sanden employed Loressa P. Rosales (Loressa) as Management Information System (MIS) Department Secretary. On December 26, 1996, she was promoted as Data Custodian and Coordinator. As such, Loressa had access to all computer programs and marketing computer data, including the Delivery Receipt Transaction files of Sanden.

Sanden discovered that the marketing delivery receipt transactions computer files were missing. Hence, a technical investigation was conducted. On the basis of the investigation, Atty. Reynaldo B. sent a letter to Loressa charging her with data sabotage and absences without leave (AWOL). She was given 24 hours to explain her side. Loressa denied the allegations.

Loressa received a Notice of Disciplinary Action from Sanden notifying Loressa that management is terminating Loressas employment effective upon receipt of the said communication. The reason cited by Sanden was the loss of trust on her capability to continue as its Coordinator and Data Custodian. For this reason, Loressa filed a complaint for illegal dismissal.

The LA rendered a decision finding that there was illegal dismissal. On appeal, the NLRC dismissed the complaint for lack of merit. Aggrieved, Loressa filed a petition for certiorari before the CA where the NLRC decision was reversed and set aside. Hence, this petition.

Whether or not Loressa was illegally dismissed


"A breach is willful if it is done intentionally and knowingly without any justifiable excuse, as distinguished from an act done carelessly, thoughtlessly or inadvertently."

As firmly entrenched in our jurisprudence, loss of trust and confidence as a just cause for termination of employment is premised on the fact that an employee concerned holds a position where greater trust is placed by management and from whom greater fidelity to duty is correspondingly expected.

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.

In this case, we agree that Loressa, who had immediate access to Sandens confidential files, papers and documents, held a position of trust and confidence as Coordinator and Data Custodian of the MIS Department.

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.

As correctly found by the Labor Arbiter, nowhere in the records can be found evidence that directly point to complainant as having committed acts of sabotage. Also, during the administrative investigation, the guilt of complainant-appellee was based on mere allegations not supported by documentary evidence nor any factual basis. Even appellants cannot directly pinpoint appellee as the culprit. They were only thinking of her as the one probably responsible thereto, considering that when she used the computer, she told the other users to log out and thereafter, used the computer for 16 minutes, with only 1 minute as usage time. But these allegations would not suffice termination of employment of appellee. Note that security of tenure is protected by constitutional mandate.

On the other hand, Loressa was able to provide documentary evidence to show that Sandens computer system was experiencing some problems even before May 16, 1997. The entries as reported by the System Administrator clearly show that the problem of missing data already existed as early as 1995, when Loressa was still an MIS Secretary and was not yet tasked to back up the Marketing Delivery Receipt Transaction files.