G.R. No. 187722. June 10, 2013
Gonzaga, lineman of Surigao Del Norte Electric Cooperative, was questioned regarding his remittance shortages in the total amount of P314,252.23, covering the period from February 2000 to May 2001.
During the investigative proceedings, Gonzaga was placed under preventive suspension. The Investigation Committee found Gonzaga guilty of (a) gross and habitual neglect of duty (b) misappropriation of REC funds and (c) failure to remit collections/monies under Code of Ethics. Written notice was sent to Gonzaga informing him of the company’s decision to relieve him from employment, as well as the grounds therefor.
Gonzaga filed a complaint with the NLRC for illegal dismissal claiming that he was denied due process and dismissed without just cause. He alleged that while he was asked to explain the P314,252.23 remittance shortage, he was nonetheless denied due process since the actual grounds for his dismissal, i.e., gross and habitual neglect of duties and responsibilities, misappropriation of REC funds and failure to remit collections/monies, were not indicated in the said memorandum. He also added that the cooperative’s proper procedure for the conduct of investigation, as outlined in Section 16.5 of the Code of Ethics was not followed; hence, he was denied due process