515 Phil. 387
Wherefore, premises considered, the thirty day preventive suspension of complainant is hereby declared to be illegal. Accordingly, respondents are directed to pay his wages during the period of his preventive suspension.Both respondents and petitioner filed their appeal from the Labor Arbiter's Decision, with petitioner questioning the dismissal of his claim for damages. In a Decision dated September 30, 1999, the NLRC granted respondents' appeal and set aside the Labor Arbiter's decision. His motion for reconsideration having been denied by the NLRC on December 13, 1999, petitioner filed a special civil action for certiorari with the CA.
The rest of complainant's claims are dismissed.
WHEREFORE, foregoing premises considered, the petition is hereby DENIED DUE COURSE and ORDERED DISMISSED, and the challenged decision and order of public respondent NLRC AFFIRMED.Petitioner filed a motion for reconsideration which the CA denied in its Resolution dated January 16, 2001.
THE COURT OF APPEALS GRAVELY ERRED IN FINDING THAT THE NLRC WAS NOT GUILTY OF GRAVE ABUSE OF DISCRETION IN RENDERING BOTH THE APPEAL DECISION AND THE NLRC RESOLUTION.Petitioner finds fault in the CA's decision, arguing that his preventive suspension does not find any justification in the Mapua Rules and Regulations considering that at the time of his preventive suspension on January 11, 1999, the rules have not been promulgated yet as it was published only on February 23, 1999. Petitioner also contests the lack of award of damages in his favor.B
THE COURT OF APPEALS GRAVELY ERRED IN AFFIRMING THE NLRC'S DISMISSAL OF PETITIONER'S CLAIM FOR DAMAGES.
Section 1. Preventive Suspension of Accused in Sexual Harassment Cases. Any member of the educational community may be placed immediately under preventive suspension during the pendency of the hearing of the charges of grave sexual harassment against him if the evidence of his guilt is strong and the school head is morally convinced that the continued stay of the accused during the period of investigation constitutes a distraction to the normal operations of the institution or poses a risk or danger to the life or property of the other members of the educational community.It must be noted however, that respondent published said rules and regulations only on February 23, 1999. In Tañada vs. Tuvera, it was ruled that:
... all statutes, including those of local application and private laws, shall be published as a condition for their effectivity, which shall begin fifteen days after publication unless a different effectivity is fixed by the legislature.The Mapua Rules is one of those issuances that should be published for its effectivity, since its purpose is to enforce and implement R.A. No. 7877, which is a law of general application. In fact, the Mapua Rules itself explicitly required publication of the rules for its effectivity, as provided in Section 3, Rule IV (Administrative Provisions), which states that "[T]hese Rules and Regulations to implement the Anti-Sexual Harassment Act of 1995 shall take effect fifteen (15) days after publication by the Committee." Thus, at the time of the imposition of petitioner's preventive suspension on January 11, 1999, the Mapua Rules were not yet legally effective, and therefore the suspension had no legal basis.
Covered by this rule are presidential decrees and executive orders promulgated by the President in the exercise of legislative powers whenever the same are validly delegated by the legislature or, at present, directly conferred by the Constitution. Administrative rules and regulations must also be published if their purpose is to enforce or implement existing law pursuant also to a valid delegation.
Interpretative regulations and those merely internal in nature, that is, regulating only the personnel of the administrative agency and not the public, need not be published. Neither is publication required of the so-called letters of instructions issued by administrative superiors concerning the rules or guidelines to be followed by their subordinates in the performance of their duties.
We agree that the publication must be in full or it is no publication at all since its purpose is to inform the public of the contents of the laws. (Emphasis supplied)
(a) if the evidence of his guilt is strong and the school head is morally convinced that the continued stay of the accused during the period of investigation constitutes a distraction to the normal operations of the institution; orIn petitioner's case, there is no indication that petitioner's preventive suspension may be based on the foregoing circumstances. Committee Resolution No. 1 (Re: Preventive Suspension of Engr. Renato Gatbonton) passed by the Committee on Decorum and Investigation states the reasons for petitioner's preventive suspension, to wit:
(b) the accused poses a risk or danger to the life or property of the other members of the educational community.
Whereas, the committee believe[s] that the continued stay of the respondent during the period of investigation,Said resolution does not show that evidence of petitioner's guilt is strong and that the school head is morally convinced that petitioner's continued stay during the period of investigation constitutes a distraction to the normal operations of the institution; or that petitioner poses a risk or danger to the life or property of the other members of the educational community.
Whereas, the committee believe[s] that this preventive suspension will allow the respondent to prepare himself for the investigation and will prevent his influences to other members of the community.
- Affects the respondent's performance as a faculty member and laboratory head considering the psychological effects depression and/or emotional stress during investigation;
- Affects the student['s] learning and other members of the Mapua Institute of Technology community.
Sec. 8. Preventive Suspension. The employer may place the worker concerned under preventive suspension if his continued employment poses a serious threat to the life or property of the employer or of his co-workers.As previously stated, there is nothing on record which shows that respondent MIT imposed the preventive suspension on petitioner as his continued employment poses a serious threat to the life or property of the employer or of his co-workers; therefore, his preventive suspension is not justified. Consequently, the payment of wages during his 30-day preventive suspension, i.e., from January 11, 1999 to February 10, 1999, is in order.
In Primero vs. Intermediate Appellate Court, this Court held that "... an award (of moral damages) cannot be justified solely upon the premise (otherwise sufficient for redress under the Labor Code) that the employer fired his employee without just cause or due process. Additional facts must be pleaded and proven to warrant the grant of moral damages under the Civil Code, these being, to repeat, that the act of dismissal was attended by bad faith or fraud, or was oppressive to labor, or done in a manner contrary to morals, good customs, or public policy; and of course, that social humiliation, wounded feelings, grave anxiety, etc., resulted therefrom." This was reiterated in Garcia vs. NLRC, where the Court added that exemplary damages may be awarded only if the dismissal was shown to have been effected in a wanton, oppressive or malevolent manner.The records of this case are bereft of any evidence showing that respondent MIT acted in bad faith or in a wanton or fraudulent manner in preventively suspending petitioner, thus, the Labor Arbiter was correct in not awarding any damages in favor of petitioner.
This the private respondent failed to do. Because no evidence was adduced to show that petitioner company acted in bad faith or in a wanton or fraudulent manner in dismissing the private respondent, the labor arbiter did not award any moral and exemplary damages in his decision. Respondent NLRC therefore had no factual or legal basis to award such damages in the exercise of its appellate jurisdiction. ...