G.R. No. 233631. December 14, 2017

FIRST DIVISION: [G.R. No. 233631, December 14, 2017] CENTURY IRON WORKS, INC. V. LUDOVICO SECAPURI ADORIAS, JR.

The Court resolves to GRANT petitioner Century Iron Works, Inc.'s motions for extension of time seeking a total period of 30 days from the expiration of reglementary period within which to file its Petition for Review on Certiorari.

After carefully reviewing the allegations, arguments, and issues in the Petition for Review on Certiorari, the Court further resolves to DENY the same for failure of the petitioner to show that the Court of Appeals (CA) committed any reversible error in its December 13, 2016 Decision and August 15, 2017 Resolution in CA-G.R. SP No. 138883 to warrant the exercise of this Court's discretionary appellate jurisdiction. On the contrary, the CA's Decision and Resolution are in accord with the facts and the applicable laws and jurisprudence.

The test for determining whether a particular employee is a project employee is whether the employee was assigned to carry out a specific project or undertaking, the duration and scope of which were specified at the time the employee was engaged for the project. However, in the case of Maraguinot, Jr. v. NLRC,[1] the Court held that:
A project employee or a member of a work pool may acquire the status of a regular employee when the following concur:
[1] There is a continuous rehiring of project employees even after the cessation of a project; and
[2] The tasks performed by the alleged "project employee" are vital, necessary and indispensable to the usual business or trade of the employer.
In this case, both requisites above are present. First, the respondent was continuously rehired by the petitioner even after the cessation of a specific project. In fact, from September 2010 until January 2013, respondent was continuously rehired by the petitioner for five (5) different projects in which there was no significant amount of time between each project to give respondent the opportunity to seek employment or offer his services to other employers. Second, as a helper/welder, the tasks respondent performed are vital, necessary, and indispensable to the usual business or trade of petitioner since the latter is engaged in the construction business.

The CA correctly held that respondent had already gained the status of a regular employee due to his repeated and continuous rehiring coupled with the fact that he performed tasks that are vital, necessary, and indispensable to the petitioner. As a regular employee, respondent was entitled to security of tenure and could only be dismissed for just or authorized causes after observance of the requirements of procedural due process. Since petitioner failed to comply with these requirements, the Court upholds the decision of the CA which affirmed the National Labor Relations Commission's ruling that petitioner illegally dismissed the respondent.

ACCORDINGLY,  the Court resolved to AFFIRM the December 13, 2016 Decision and August 15, 2017 Resolution of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. SPNo. 138883.

SO ORDERED.

[1] 348 Phil. 580,600-601(1998).

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