369 Phil. 537


[ G.R. No. 104302, July 14, 1999 ]




This special civil action for certiorari seeks to annul the resolution of the NLRC promulgated on January 2, 1992 in NLRC NCR Case No. 00-07-02329-87, setting aside the Decision of the Labor Arbiter that found private respondents guilty of unfair labor practice, declared the dismissal of petitioner as illegal, and ordered petitioner's reinstatement with backwages and damages.

Petitioner was employed as supervisor of the ticketing section at the Manila branch office of respondent China Airlines Ltd. (CAL). At the ticketing section, petitioner was assisted by a senior ticketing agent, Eleanor Go; and two ticketing agents, Julie Chua and Josephine Lobendino.

On October 29, 1986, private respondent K.Y. Chang, then district manager of the Manila branch office of CAL, informed petitioner that management had decided to temporarily close its ticketing section in order to prevent further losses. Petitioner's three assistants were likewise notified that they too will be temporarily laid off from employment effective October 30, 1986.

Thereafter, CAL decided to permanently close said ticketing section. Thus, on November 5, 1986, petitioner and her staff members were informed that their recent lay-off from employment will be considered permanent, effective one month from receipt of such notice. A notice of said retrenchment was filed with the labor department on November 11, 1986.

Later, petitioner was advised to claim her retirement pay and other benefits. Feeling aggrieved, petitioner sent a letter to private respondent Chang assailing the validity of her termination from the service.

On July 1, 1987, petitioner filed with the Arbitration Branch of NLRC a complaint for unfair labor practice and illegal dismissal with prayer for reinstatement, payment of backwages, damages and attorney's fees.[1]

In a decision dated June 8, 1990, the labor arbiter ruled in favor of petitioner and decreed as follows:
"WHEREFORE, foregoing premises considered, judgment is hereby rendered as follows:

(1) Declaring respondents China Airlines, Inc. and K. Y. Chang guilty of unfair labor practice and ordering them to cease and desist from further committing said acts or similar acts of unfair labor practice/s;

(2) Declaring the dismissal of complainant Rebecca Veloso as illegal and ordering respondents China Airlines, Inc. and K. Y. Chang to reinstate her to her former position, or to a substantially equivalent position, without loss of seniority rights and to pay her, jointly and severally, backwages from the time she was effectively dismissed on October 29, 1986 until June 8, 1990, the date of this Decision and other benefits which she would have had received had she not been illegally dismissed, in the amount as set forth below;

(3) Ordering respondents to pay, jointly and severally, complainant, within ten (10) days from receipt of this Decision the total sum of FOUR MILLION THREE HUNDRED TWENTY SIX THOUSAND FIVE HUNDRED TWENTY (P4,326,520.00) PESOS broken as follows:

(a) P731,560.00 - representing her back monthly salary in the amount of P16,440.00 from October 29, 1986 and every month thereafter until June 8, 1990, the date of Decision;

(b) P65,760.00 - representing her 13th month pay in the amount of P16,440.00 per year for the years 1986,1987, 1988 and 1989;

(c) P24,600.00 - representing her Mid-year bonus in the amount of P8,200.00 per year for the years 1987, 1988 and 1989;

(d) P8,000.00 - representing the cash equivalent of her yearly medical hospitalization benefits in the amount of P2,000.00 per year for the years 1986, 1987 and 1989;

(e) P6,600.00 - representing her monthly transportation allowance of P150.00 per month beginning October 1986 and every month thereafter until June 6, 1990, the date of this Decision;

(f) P2,000,000.00 - as moral damages;

(g) P1,000,000.00 - as exemplary damages

(h) P240,000.00 - as attorney's fees, and

(i) P10,000.00 - as litigation expenses.

(4) Further, respondent are hereby directed to show, within ten (10) days from receipt of this decision, proof of compliance as to the reinstate aspect of this Decision as compulsorily mandated under the Labor Code, as amended by Republic Act No. 6715.

Dissatisfied with the above judgment, private respondents appealed to the NLRC which in its resolution dated January 2, 1992, set aside the decision of the labor arbiter. According to public respondent, the charge of unfair labor practice had no factual and legal basis. It noted that petitioner was not an elective officer of the union; and she was just an adviser with no formal designation. The labor tribunal also observed that only those in the ticketing section were affected by the retrenchment program and not one of the elective union officers were laid off. Hence, public respondent declared that dismissing a union adviser while retaining all union officers is far from any intent to bust the union. Accordingly, public respondent ruled that the retrenchment was validly effected and disposed of the case as follows:
"WHEREFORE, the decision appealed from dated June 8, 1990, is hereby set aside. The respondent are however directed to pay the complainant the sum of P428,895.04 as her retrenchment pay.

Petitioner received copy of the aforesaid resolution of public respondent on January 7, 1992.[4] However, instead of filing the required motion for reconsideration, petitioner filed the instant petition for certiorari. In doing so, petitioner boldly avers that a recourse to the NLRC via a motion for reconsideration is futile and will only injure further her rights to a speedy and unbiased judgment of the case. She did not expect the labor tribunal to rectify itself.

This precipitate filing of petition for certiorari under Rule 65 without first moving for reconsideration of the assailed resolution warrants the outright dismissal of this case. As we have consistently held in numerous cases,[5] a motion for reconsideration is indispensable, for it affords the NLRC an opportunity to rectify errors or mistakes it might have committed before resort to the courts can be had.

It is settled that certiorari will lie only if there is no appeal or any other plain, speedy and adequate remedy in the ordinary course of law against acts of public respondent.[6] In this case, the plain and adequate remedy expressly provided by law is a motion for reconsideration of the impugned resolution, to be made under oath and filed within ten (10) days from receipt of the questioned resolution of the NLRC, a procedure which is jurisdictional.[7] Hence, the filing of the petition for certiorari in this case is patently violative of prevailing jurisprudence and will not prosper without undue damage to the fundamental doctrine that undergirds the grant of this prerogative writ.

Further, it should be stressed that without a motion for reconsideration seasonably filed within the ten-day reglementary period, an order, decision or resolution of the NLRC, becomes final and executory after ten (10) calendar days from receipt thereof.[8] Hence, the resolution of the NLRC had become final and executory on January 17, 1992, insofar as petitioner is concerned, because she admits under oath having received notice thereof[9] on January 7, 1992. The merits of her case may no longer be reviewed to determine if the public respondent might be faulted for grave abuse of discretion, as alleged in her petition dated March 14, 1992. Thus, the court has no recourse but to sustain the respondent's position on jurisdictional and other grounds, that the petition ought not be given due course and the case should be dismissed for lack of merit.

WHEREFORE, the instant petition is hereby DISMISSED, and the RESOLUTION of public respondent NLRC dated January 2, 1992, is hereby AFFIRMED.

No pronouncement as to costs.


Bellosillo (Chairman), Puno, Mendoza, and Buena, JJ., concur.

[1] Petitioner's three assistants, namely, Julie Chua, Eleanor Go, and Josephine Lobendino filed on October 9, 1989 a separate complaint for unfair labor practice and illegal dismissal. The Labor Arbiter dismissed said suit declaring that the retrenchment was valid , judgment sustained by NLRC. In G.R.- 111385, the petition for certiorari assailing aforementioned NLRC decision was dismissed by this Court on January 30, 1997.

[2] Rollo, pp. 99-101.

[3] Id. at 121.

[4] Id. at 7 and 42.

[5] Escorpizo vs. University of Baguio, et al., G.R. No. 121962, April 30, 1999; Manila Midtown Hotels & Land Corp. vs. NLRC, 288 SCRA 259, 264; ABS-CBN Employees Union vs. NLRC, 276 SCRA 123, 128; Gonpu Services Corporation vs. NLRC, 266 SCRA 657, 660.

[6] Rules of Court, Rule 130, Sec.1. See Building Care Corporation vs. NLRC, 268 SCRA 666, 674 and Interorient Maritime Enterprises Inc. vs. NLRC, 261 SCRA 757, 764.

[7] Supra, note 5.

[8] Rule VIII, Section 2(a), New Rules of Procedure of the NLRC.

[9] Supra, note 4.

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