Aris (Phil.) Inc. vs. NLRC

G.R. No. 90501. August 5, 1991

FACTS:

In 1988, private respondents, who were employees of petitioner requested for grievance conference concerning their working surroundings which had become detrimental and hazardous. As none was arranged, they protested directly to the management’s office for the inaction on their complaints. The management issued a memorandum to those who were identified by their supervisor as the most active participants in the “rally”, requiring them to explain why they should not be terminated from the service. Despite their explanation, private respondents were dismissed for violation of company rules and regulations, more specifically of the provisions on security and public order and on inciting or participating in illegal strikes or concerted actions.

Private respondents filed complaint for illegal dismissal with the NLRC. Labor Arbiter F. Garduque III in its decision ordered that Aris Phil reinstate within ten (10) days the private respondents to their former respective positions or any substantial equivalent positions if already filled up, without loss of seniority right and privileges but with limited backwages of six (6) months. Complainants (herein private respondents) filed a Motion For Issuance of a Writ of Execution.

Petitioner filed its Appeal and an Opposition to the motion for execution alleging that Section 12 of R.A. No. 6715 as well as the implementing provision covered by Section 2 of the NLRC Interim Rules allowing immediate execution, even pending appeal, of the reinstatement aspect of a decision of a labor arbiter reinstating a dismissed or separated employee, petitioner submits that said portion violates the due process clause of the Constitution in that it is oppressive and unreasonable. It argues that a reinstatement pending appeal negates the right of the employer to self-protection. For, social justice should be implemented not through mistaken sympathy for or misplaced antipathy against any group, but evenhandedly and fairly.

The NLRC through the Solicitor General submits that the provision questioned is a valid exercise of the police power of the state – on the theory that the preservation of the lives of the citizens is a basic duty of the State, that is more vital than the preservation of corporate profits.

ISSUE:

(1) WON allowing immediate execution of reinstatement of dismissed employees, pending appeal is violative of due process clause of the Constitution for social justice shall not be applied through mistaken sympathy against group.

HELD:

No. Before its amendment by Section 12 of R.A. No. 6715, Article 223 of the Labor Code already allowed execution of decisions of the NLRC pending their appeal to the Secretary of Labor and Employment.

Article XIII, Sec 3 (Social Justice and Human Rights) – the State is mandated to afford full protection to labor, local and overseas, organized and unorganized, and promote full employment and equality of employment opportunities for all; to guarantee the rights of all workers to self-organization, collective bargaining and negotiations, and peaceful concerted activities, including the right to strike in accordance with law, security of tenure, human conditions of work, and a living wage, to participate in policy and decision-making processes affecting their rights and benefits as may be provided by law; and to promote the principle of shared responsibility between workers and employers and the preferential use of voluntary modes in settling disputes.

Execution pending appeal is interlinked with the right to appeal. One cannot be divorced from the other. The latter may be availed of by the losing party or a party who is not satisfied with a judgment, while the former may be applied for by the prevailing party during the pendency of the appeal. The right to appeal, however, is not a constitutional, natural or inherent right. It is a statutory privilege of statutory origin and, therefore, available only if granted or provided by statute. The law may then validly provide limitations or qualifications thereto or relief to the prevailing party in the event an appeal is interposed by the losing party. Execution pending appeal is one such relief long recognized in this jurisdiction. The Revised Rules of Court allows execution pending appeal and the grant thereof is left to the discretion of the court upon good reasons to be stated in a special order.

These duties and responsibilities of the State are imposed not so much to express sympathy for the workingman as to forcefully and meaningfully underscore labor as a primary social and economic force, which the Constitution also expressly affirms With equal intensity. Labor is an indispensable partner for the nation’s progress and stability.

It is also valid exercise of the police power of the State. The State may authorize an immediate implementation, pending appeal, of a decision reinstating a dismissed or separated employee since that saving act is designed to stop, although temporarily since the appeal may be decided in favor of the appellant, a continuing threat or danger to the survival or even the life of the dismissed or separated employee and his family.

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