Republic of the Philippines
G.R. No. 177167 January 17, 2013
NELSON B. GAN, Petitioner,
GALDERMA PHILIPPINES, INC. and ROSENDO C. VENERACION, Respondents.
D E C I S I O N
This is a petition for review on certiorari under Rule 45 of the Rules of Civil Procedure seeking the reversal of the March 21, 2007 Decision1 of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. SP No. 91118, which upheld the assailed resolutions of the National Labor Relations Commission (NLRC) affirming the Labor Arbiter's ruling that petitioner Nelson B. Gan voluntarily resigned and was not constructively dismissed by respondent Galderma Philippines, Inc.
Now the facts.
Respondent Galderma Philippines, Inc. (Galderma), a wholly-owned subsidiary of Galderma Pharma S.A., is engaged in the business of selling, marketing, and distribution of Cetaphil Brand Product Lines (CBPL) that include Cetaphil liquid and bar cleansers, and pharmaceutical products, such as Locetar, Benzac and other prescription drugs. CBPL, which are over-the-counter products sold and/or distributed through supermarkets and health and beauty outlets, are handled by Galderma's Consumer Products Division, while pharmaceutical products, which are mostly prescription drugs sold and/or distributed through drug stores, are handled by its Ethical Products Division.
On February 9, 2001, petitioner Nelson B. Gan (Gan) was hired by Galderma as Product Manager for its Consumer Products Division to handle the marketing of CBPL effective March 1, 2001 with salary and benefits as follows:
1. Monthly Salary - PHP 30,000.00 (Guaranteed 13 months)
2. Sales Incentives Scheme
- Monthly Incentive (should the monthly sales target for the CBPL be achieved) – PHP 8,000.00
- Year-to-Date (YTD) Incentive (should the monthly sales target for the CBPL be consistently achieved) – PHP 2,000.00
- Annual Incentive (should the annual sales target for the CBPL be achieved) – PHP 15,000.00
- Provision and free use of company car
- Monthly car allowance – PHP 3,200.00
- Vision care annual subsidy for Gan and his dependents – PHP 1,200.00
- Rice subsidy – PHP 1,500 every other month
- Grocery items – worth PHP 900.00 upon attainment of the monthly sales target, subject to upgrade to PHP 1,300.00 at the end of every quarter upon national attainment of quarter targets
- Funeral assistance – PHP 10,000
- Monthly cellular telephone reimbursement – PHP 500.00
- Paid vacation leave of ten (10) working days per annum after one (1) year of employment
- Paid sick leave of ten (10) working days per annum after six (6) months of employment
- Paid funeral leave of five (5) days in case of death of an immediate family member (legitimate wife, children and parents)
- Paternity Leave
- Group Life Insurance
- Group Personal Accident Insurance
- Retirement Plan
- Foreign travel incentive like any other employee of Galderma depending on their performance for the year2
Gan was initially under the immediate supervision of Sales and Marketing Manager, Stephen C. Peregrino (Peregrino). Starting September 1, 2001, however, in view of Peregrino’s resignation, he directly reported to Galderma's President and General Manager, respondent Rosendo C. Veneracion (Veneracion).3
With his satisfactory performance during the first year, Gan was acknowledged and rewarded by Galderma through positive performance appraisal, salary and benefits increases, and informal notations on his marketing reports:
18.1 Gan was given a FULLY EFFECTIVE RATING by Veneracion in his Overall Performance Evaluation for the year 2001, particularly -
|KEY RESULT AREAS
|AREAS OF BEHAVIOR
|Client Orientation – understands clients; produces services and products for clients; uses knowledge to equip clients; meets clients' needs.
|Drive for Results – makes things happen; is proactive, balances analysis with doing; sets high standards for self; commits to organizational goals.
|Teamwork – collaborates with others; shares knowledge; acknowledges other's contributions; works effectively in diversity; seeks help as needed.
NOTE: "6" being the highest rate and "1" the lowest.
18.2. Gan was given a 40% increase in his gross monthly salary, that is, from PHP 30,000.00 to PHP 42,000.00 effective 1 January 2002 through the 10 December 2001 Office Correspondence (or memorandum) of Veneracion x x x.
18.3. Gan's PHP 8,000.00 monthly sales incentive was also increased to PHP 9,000.00 effective 1 January 2002 through Veneracion's Office Correspondence of 14 December 2001 x x x.
18.4. Gan's PHP 3,200.00 monthly car allowance was likewise increased to PHP 4,125.00. This increase, however, was not evidenced by any memorandum and was merely implemented by Galderma and included in his monthly pay.
18.5. Gan was also included among the select group of employees of Galderma entitled to and given an all expense paid overseas trip for 2001 (in Sydney, Australia), but he was unable to join the same due to visa problem.4
Gan's above-average performance in handling CBPL continued in the first quarter of 2002:
19.1. The total 1st quarter net sales of the CBPL was almost double the 2000 annual net sales and already 53% of the 2001 annual net sales x x x
19.2. The average monthly net sales for 2002 was already 96% higher than the average monthly net sales for 2001. If this trend continues, the annual net sales for the CBPL is expected at PHP 14,020,232.00 or more than double the annual net sales for 2001.
19.3. The excellent year 2002 1st quarter performance of Gan was acknowledged by Veneracion with his handwritten comments on the CBPL Marketing Report for February 2002 prepared and submitted by Gan x x x to wit –
19.3.1. Veneracion commended Gan for the good sales results for the 1st 2 months of 2002 when he commented – "Good sales results! Looks like we're off to a good start!! Keep it up!" – when Gan reported that the CBPL generated total gross sales of PHP 1.65 million or a 144% attainment vs. the February forecast, which sales total surpassed the previous high of PHP 1.46 million for January 2002.
19.3.2. Veneracion commented as "EXCELLENT" the eight (8) Press Releases or Articles for the CBPL for the month of February 2002.5
Pursuant to its intention to give him additional product management responsibilities, Galderma provided Gan with product knowledge training on Benzac and Locetar brands in December 2001. Thereafter, Gan’s incentive program was revised and took effect in April 2002, thus:
Earn cash incentive upon achieving monthly national trade sales forecasts of the Cetaphil Consumer line, Locetar line and Benzac line as follows:
|Cetaphil consumer line P 4,500.00
|Locetar line 3,000.00
|Benzac line 1,500.00
Earn monthly cash incentive as YTD Consistency Award as follows:
|Cetaphil consumer line P 1,000.00
|Locetar line 750.00
|Benzac line 250.00
Earn cash incentive upon achieving Annual Trade Forecasts of the following:
|Cetaphil consumer line P 7,500.00
|Locetar line 5,000.00
|Benzac line 2,500.006
The above policy actually modified the 2002 Incentive Program previously communicated to Gan per December 14, 2001 Office Correspondence,7 the mechanics of which were as follows:
Earn Ps 9,000 cash incentive upon achievement of monthly national trade sales forecast of the Cetaphil consumer line and/or any product line that management may add to the line-up of consumer products promoted to supermarket accounts.
Earn Ps 2,000 monthly cash incentive as YTD Consistency Award for the Cetaphil consumer line and/or any product line that management may add to the line-up of consumer products promoted to supermarket accounts.
Earn Ps 15,000 cash incentive upon achievement of annual trade sales forecast of the Cetaphil consumer line and/or any product line that management may add to the line-up of consumer products promoted to supermarket accounts.
The December 14, 2001 Office Correspondence further advised that Galderma's management "reserves the prerogative to modify or cancel theincentive program dependent on the company's financial capability to continue with the program" and that "in such an event, a 30-day advance notice shall be provided to personnel affected by the change."
On April 11, 2002, Gan severed his employment ties with Galderma. His resignation letter reads:
April 11, 2002
Sr. Product Manager
Please accept my resignation as OTC Product Manager effective July 15, 2002.
I am giving the company this notice in advance so that Galderma Philippines may have ample time to find a suitable replacement for my position.
I plan to pursue the establishment of my own business or explore opportunities with other companies.
On the same day, Gerry M. Castro (Castro), his immediate superior at the time, accepted the resignation tendered:
April 11, 2002
|Nelson Gan||c.c.: R.C. Veneracion|
This is to accept your resignation which will take effect on July 15, 2002. We appreciate your gesture for providing the company three months advance notice to recruit and train suitable replacement. We wish you success in your future endeavor.
GERRY M. CASTRO9
Three months passed, on July 25, 2002, Gan filed a Complaint10 for illegal constructive dismissal, full backwages, separation pay, damages, attorney’s fees, and cost of suit against respondents Galderma and Veneracion.
Gan has consistently alleged his version of facts:
The start of Gan's
Calvary in Galderma.
20. In the morning of 4 March 2002, Gan was summoned by Veneracion, who informed him of his disgust in Gan's act of taking an emergency sick leave on 28 February 2002, immediately after availing of a five (5)-day vacation leave from 21-27 February 2002. Veneracion also informed Gan that he disliked his act in applying for the emergency sick leave, that is, by merely "texting" (short message service or SMS) Veneracion's executive secretary instead of informing Veneracion himself. Ganapologized to Veneracion and informed him that it will not be repeated, as in fact it was never repeated x x x.
Veneracion on 7
21. Gan, as previously required by Veneracion, submitted a five (5)-year sales forecast and marketing program for a Benzac brand anti-acne product (an ethical product, thus not covered by the CBPL). Veneracion wanted to include the said product under the brand management functions of Ganin the CBPL x x x.
22. Veneracion did not like the sales forecast and marketing program prepared by Ganto the point that he questioned the competence of Ganas product manager. To appease the irritated Veneracion, Ganpolitely stated that x x x –
22.1. The matters stated in his sales forecast and marketing programs are merely his professional views and should the same be unacceptable to Veneracion, the decision of the latter would naturally prevail and be implemented by Gan.
22.2. Perhaps the reason why Veneracion did not like the sales forecast and marketing programs submitted by Ganis because the Benzac Brand is not within Gan’s expertise, being an ethical product, and not among the products understood by Ganto be covered by his responsibility as product manager when he accepted the work in Galderma.
23. Veneracion, however, did not accept the explanation of Ganand started enumerating his dissatisfaction with Gan unfairly branding the latter as - "slow, lacking in initiative and uncooperative" (THE 1st ACT OF HARASSMENT). Not satisfied, Veneracion continued and then asked Gan to reconsider his stay in Galderma (in other words to leave or resign) because of his aforementioned negative attitudes (THE 2nd ACT OF HARASSMENT). Gan, naturally and considering his excellent performance in 2001-2002 and his immense contribution to Galderma's success, refuted as false the unfair allegations of Veneracion x x x.
Veneracion on 15
March 2002 x x x.
24. On or about 10:00 a.m., Veneracion went to the office cubicle of Gan to ask for a list of the advertising rates of the leading newspaper publications, which he needed as reference in studying the five (5)-year business plan of Galderma. Gan respectfully informed Veneracion that he does not have a list, but he would ask for one (as in fact he did) from Galderma's retained PR Agency, Agatep and Associates x x x.
25. About 10 minutes later, Veneracion returned to the office cubicle of Gan again asking for the list of ad rates. Gan explained to Veneracion that he has already requested it from Agatep and Associates, but the PR Agency has not yet forwarded a copy to him as he requested. He informed Veneracion that he would again call the PR Agency for a copy of the list of ad rates x x x.
26. But even before Gan could call the PR Agency, Veneracion, surprisingly, again got angry at Gan with his reply. Veneracion again unfairly and falsely accused Gan of being remiss in his duties as product manager for not having a ready copy of the list of ad rates (THE 3rd ACT OF HARASSMENT). Gan explained to Veneracion that he does not have a copy of the said list as he does not use paid advertisement as a means of promoting the CBPL, as what he uses are PR articles and paid newspaper advertisements in magazines (not newspapers). This further infuriated Veneracion who was still insisting that Gan should have a ready copy of the said list of ad rates and again unfairly and without basis questioned his competence as product manager x x x.
27. Veneracion, still furious, thereafter summoned Gan to his office for a closed-door meeting where he continued lambasting Gan for his alleged negative work behavior and his poor performance as product manager in Galderma (THE 4th ACT OF HARASSMENT). Gan defended himself through his good performance record x x x.
28. Veneracion, notwithstanding the explanation of Gan, again accused Gan of being a distraction in Galderma and for the second time asked him to reconsider his stay in Galderma (THE 5th ACT OF HARASSMENT). After the outburst of Veneracion, Gan asked him what he wants Gan to do to satisfy Veneracion, to which Veneracion replied – "make your move" - insinuating that Gan resign from Galderma. Shocked at the statement of Veneracion for him to resign, Gan replied - "no you make your move" - insinuating that Veneracion should fire him if he is not satisfied with his performance. Veneracion thereafter warned Gan not to give a reason to terminate him. At this, Gan stated that he will not resign his employment in Galderma, as he knows he is doing his job very well, as reflected by his sales record x x x.
29. Immediately after their meeting, Veneracion verbally ordered that from that time onwards Gan would start to report directly to the Senior Product Manager Mr. Gerry M. Castro "Castro", instead of to Veneracion directly x x x.
Incident with Castro on 3 April 2002 x x x.
30. Gan was called to the office of Castro. There, Gan was informed that his 2002 INCENTIVE SCHEME was revised (hereinafter the "REVISED 2002 INCENTIVE SCHEME" - THE 6th ACT OF HARASSMENT), as follows x x x:
|PHP 9,000 – monthly incentive for meeting the monthly sales target for the CBPL. PHP 2,000.00 – YTD incentive for regularly meeting the monthly sales target for the CBPL. PHP 15,000.00 – annual incentive for meeting the annual sales target for the CBPL.
||SAME AMOUNT of Monthly incentive was distributed as follows:
* PHP 4,500.00 for meeting the monthly sales target for the CBPL.
* PHP 3,000.00 for meeting the monthly sales target for the Locetar Brand.
* PHP 1,500.00 for meeting the monthly sales target for the Benzac Brand
SAME AMOUNT OF YTD incentive was distributed as follows:
* PHP 1,000.00 for the CBPL.
* PHP 750.00 for the Locetar Brand.
* PHP 250.00 for the Benzac Brand.
SAME AMOUNT of Annual incentive was distributed as follows: * PHP 7,500.00 for the CBPL.
* PHP 5,000.00 for the Locetar Brand.
* PHP 2,500.00 for the Benzac Brand.
50% DECREASE in monthly incentive for meeting the SAME CBPL monthly sales target. Represents 33% of the monthly incentive for the CBPL DEDUCTED from Gan. Represents 17% of the monthly incentive for the CBPL DEDUCTED from Gan. 50% DECREASE in YTD incentive for meeting the same CBPL sales target. Represents 37.5% of the YTD incentive for the CBPL DEDUCTED from Gan. Represents 12.5% of the YTD incentive for the CBPL DEDUCTED from Gan
50% DECREASE in the annual incentive for meeting the same sales target for the CBPL. Represents 33% of the annual incentive for the CBPL DEDUCTED from Gan Represents 17% of the annual incentive for the CBPL DEDUCTED from Gan
31. Gan requested from Castro the following x x x:
31.1. A one (1)-month transition period to familiarize himself with the new products added to his responsibilities and to study its market.
31.2. Not to implement his revised incentive scheme during the requested transition period.
Castro informed Gan that he understood his position and he would discuss the matter with Veneracion immediately upon the return of the latter from Singapore. On his way out of Castro's office, Gan was handed a copy of the memorandum dated 2 April 2002 (to take effect 1 April 2002) revising, or to be specific – REDUCING – his incentive scheme for his signature evidencing conformity x x x. Gan asked Castro if he could delay the signing until after Veneracion has decided on his above requests, to which Castro readily agreed.
Incident with Castro on 10 April 2002 x x x.
32. Gan was instructed by Castro to formally put in writing his request for reconsideration on his REVISED 2002 INCENTIVE SCHEME as they previously discussed on 3 April 2002. Gan, fearing that this might only fuel another of Veneracion’s recent and numerous outbursts against him, informed Castro that "kung magiging issue lang huwag na tanggapin ko na" but Castro insisted that he put it in writing. Gan did so as instructed by Castro x x x.
Incident with Veneracion on 11 April 2002 x x x.
33. Early that morning, Gan and Castro were having a discussion in the latter's office when Veneracion arrived and started lambasting Gan for his alleged incompetence as product manager. Gan allegedly failed to consider some details in the CBPL presentation for the Getz Bros. April cycle meeting. Veneracion continued his attack on the alleged incompetence of Gan and Veneracion’s inclination to remove the CBPL responsibility from him. Veneracion said he would handle it himself – THE 7th ACT OF HARASSMENT x x x.
34. Not satisfied, Veneracion thereafter summoned both Gan and Castro in his office where he continued lambasting and humiliating Gan. This time, Veneracion was furious because of Gan’s written request for reconsideration on his REVISED 2002 INCENTIVE SCHEME telling Gan outright that he has no right to reject management's decision on compensation matters. Not satisfied, Veneracion continued that Gan has become a liability in Galderma and that Galderma would be better off without him (stated another way, that Gan leave Galderma) – THE 8th ACT OF HARASSMENT x x x.
35. Veneracion, thereafter, asked Gan if he has had any luck in looking for another employment. Surprised at Veneracion, Gan replied that he was not looking for another job. Veneracion replied that he was surprised that Gan was not planning to leave Galderma considering their conflicts. Veneracion also asked Gan if he has consulted a lawyer and when Gan answered no, Veneracion again expressed his surprise – THE 9th ACT OF HARASSMENT x x x.
36. Not satisfied with the humiliation inflicted on Gan, Veneracion for the nth time told Gan to reconsider his stay in Galderma (in other words, that Gan leave Galderma). Veneracion told Gan that he would be given 15 days to look for another job (in short, he would be terminated in 15 days), as a gesture of his good will – THE 10th ACT OF HARASSMENT x x x.
The forced resignation of Gan.
37. Shocked and humiliated at the turn of events, Gan requested to talk privately with Veneracion (which request was granted). Gan, who had just lost his job (with the 15-day notice given by Veneracion) notwithstanding his excellent performance record, wanted to talk privately with Veneracion in the hope of salvaging a better term for his forced exit in Galderma (as Gan was of the belief, and rightfully so, that Veneracion would not allow him to remain employed in Galderma as he had clearly and numerously manifested). Finally, Veneracion offered him the following, as an alternative to him being terminated in 15 days x x x:
37.1. Gan was required to file his voluntary resignation that day, 11 April 2002, which resignation shall take effect on 15 July 2002 or 90 days thereafter.
It must be noted that the initial offer of Veneracion to Gan was 60 days pay in exchange for his forced resignation, but Veneracion increased it to 90 days pay INSTEAD of granting the request of Gan to include with the 60 days pay the cash amount equivalent of the Sydney trip incentive, which he failed to avail of because of visa problems x x x.
37.2. In exchange for Gan’s resignation, Gan would no longer be required to report for work in Galderma starting 12 April 2002 until 15 July 2002 to afford him time to look for another employment.
37.3. Notwithstanding that he would no longer be reporting for work in Galderma, Gan would still be paid his salary and all benefits until 15 July 2002 (the 90-day pay sweetener) in exchange for the resignation.
37.4. To hide their unwritten agreement from the internal auditors of Galderma and to justify the continued payment of his salary and benefits, Gan was required by Veneracion to submit periodic field reports (on the CBPL), on a twice a month basis, until 15 July 2002 to make it appear that he was still working for Galderma.
38. As required by Veneracion and for Gan to receive his pay and all benefits until 15 July 2002 (the 90-day pay sweetener), Gan was forced to submit his required voluntary resignation x x x on the same day and which resignation was immediately accepted x x x by Galderma x x x.
39. Veneracion even dictated to Gan the reasons to be stated in his forced resignation letter, that - "the 90 days is necessary to afford Galderma time to find suitable replacement and to afford Gan time to pursue his own business or to explore opportunities outside Galderma" x x x.
What transpired after
the forced resignation.
40. After his forced resignation and as agreed upon, Gan, starting 12 April 2002, stopped reporting for work in the offices of Galderma. He, however, continued to do occasional field work for Galderma and submitted the required periodic field reports on a twice a month basis x x x.
x x x x
41. Veneracion, likewise, complied with his undertaking to continue paying Gan his salary and benefits x x x.
x x x x
42. On 23 July 2002, Gan received, by parcel delivery (LBC), the 22 July 2002 letter of Galderma signed by its Finance Manager, Winston Marquez x x x, informing him of the availability for pick-up of his last pay (period 1-15 July 2002) and other benefits (June incentive, pro-rated 13th month pay, reimbursement of expenses, tax refund) amounting to PHP 50,425.02. Payment of the check, however, was conditioned on Gan signing a quitclaim in favor of Galderma, which he refused considering the filing of the instant suit. The said amount, thus, remains unpaid x x x.11
Respondents’ narration of events differs in material details. They aver:
5. In December of 2001, the company provided Gan with product knowledge training on the Benzac and Locetar brands. The training was pursuant to the company's intention to give additional product responsibilities to Gan. Multi-brand assignment is a usual practice in the company because the product management team of the company is composed of only three persons – the Senior Product Manager, the Product Manager, and the Assistant Product Manager. There is no clear division between personnel who handle ethical brands and those who handle consumer products. For example, the company's Assistant Product Manager, Annalyn Gamboa ("Gamboa"), handles some Cetaphil (consumer) products in addition to the ethical products that she manages. Senior Product Manager Gerry M. Castro ("Castro") also handles both consumer and ethical products. Since Cetaphil was the only consumer brand of the company, it was only natural that the additional product responsibilities given to Gan were ethical products.
6. Galderma's senior managers noticed that Gan had a change of attitude from the time the management decided to include the Benzac and Locetar brands under his responsibility. Despite the fact that the company provided Gan with product knowledge training on the said brands, he initially refused to accept the additional assignment. The company had to remind Gan that the assignment was part of his Job Description, which allowed the company to assign him to undertake additional tasks as may be deemed necessary by operations.
7. On 4 March 2002, respondent Veneracion summoned Gan to his office in order to discuss the latter's failure to report to work after taking a five-day vacation leave. Gan previously undertook to come to the office after his vacation leave. However, Gan merely sent a "text message" to Executive Assistant Abigail R. Peralta ("Peralta"), saying that he was "still tired" from his trip and will not report to the office. After their discussion, Gan apologized and Veneracion accepted his apology. Veneracion refrained from issuing a show-cause memorandum to Gan because Veneracion thought that the matter was already settled with Gan’s apology and undertaking to refrain from repeating the same infraction.
8. On 7 March 2002, Veneracion and Gan discussed Gan’s five-year sales forecast and marketing program for a Benzac brand anti-acne product. In the course of their discussion, Veneracion reiterated to Gan that the latter's additional assignment is included in his Job Description. While Veneracion had some comments on Gan’s sales forecast and marketing program, Veneracion neither asked Gan to reconsider his stay in Galderma nor insinuated that Gan should resign.
9. On 15 March 2002, Veneracion went to Gan’s office to ask for a list of the advertising rates of the leading newspaper publications. Gan informed Veneracion that he did not have a list, but that he would ask one from Galderma's retained public relations agency. When Veneracion returned to Gan’s office for the list, Gan explained that the public relations agency had not yet forwarded him a copy. Veneracion then requested Peralta to call up the Philippine Daily Inquirer directly, and they were able to secure the advertising rates within minutes through fax. After obtaining the advertising rates, Veneracion summoned Gan for a closed-door meeting for him to explain why a basic consumer marketing data was not available in his fact book. At that point Gan raised his voice in a very disrespectful manner. Nevertheless, Veneracion limited the discussion to Gan’s duties as Product Manager and did not dwell on personal matters.
10. On 3 April 2002, Castro called Gan to his (Castro's) office to discuss Gan’s revised incentive program, which was brought about by the inclusion of the Locetar and Benzac lines among Gan’s product management responsibilities. Prior to their discussion, Castro gave Gan his copy of the revised incentive scheme. Gan expressed his disappointment over the change in the program and sought a one-month transition period. Castro told Gan that he (Castro) would discuss Gan’s request with Veneracion, upon Veneracion's return from a business trip abroad. After their discussion, Gan returned his copy of the revised incentive program to Castro. Pursuant to company practice on circulation of inter-office correspondence, Castro requested Gan to get his copy and to acknowledge receipt thereof. However, Gan refused to receive his copy and told Castro to first discuss his request with Veneracion. To avoid further confrontation, Castro let Gan leave without him receiving his copy.
11. On 4 April 2002, Castro again requested Gan to receive his copy of the revised incentive scheme. Gan still refused to receive the copy and even dictated what the management should do in case additional brands are assigned to a product manager. To appease Gan, Castro reiterated that he would discuss Gan’s request with Veneracion upon the latter's return from his trip abroad. Gan retorted that if Castro should decide to take it up with Veneracion, then Castro should do it quickly. Only then did Gan finally agree to receive his copy of the revised incentive scheme, but not without first saying: "Anyway, I will only put it on my file."
12. On 8 April 2002, Castro had a meeting with Veneracion regarding recent developments within the company. In the course of their discussion, Castro gave Veneracion an update about Gan’s training and scheduled "revalida" or oral examination. In order to help Gan manage his newly assigned brands, Veneracion instructed Castro to give Gan additional exposure to the ethical marketing operations of the company by asking Gan to do clinic visits. Part of Castro's discussion with Veneracion was Gan’s verbal request for consideration regarding the implementation of the new incentive program. Castro told Veneracion that he (Castro) would ask Gan to formalize the request so Castro could put a written endorsement or recommendation for approval. At that time, Veneracion already approved Gan’s request in principle. Castro immediately told Gan to formalize his request so that the former could submit the request to Veneracion's office with Castro's endorsement. After Castro got Gan’s letter in the afternoon, Castro put his endorsement on it and left it on Veneracion's desk.
13. On 11 April 2002, Gan and Castro had a discussion regarding Gan’s presentation for the Getz Brothers April Cycle Meeting. Veneracion later joined them and informed Castro of the revisions that Veneracion asked Gan to make on his presentation. Veneracion further asked Gan some information relating to the Cetaphil consumer sales operation, as well as some directions that he expected Gan to take. Veneracion also explained to Gan that the incentive program offered by the company was subject to change. There was an impassioned discussion between Gan and Veneracion, but Veneracion was only reacting to the provocative responses and negative behavior of Gan. While the meeting was intense, it covered only business matters. Veneracion did not lambast Gan, or insinuate that Gan should resign from Galderma.
14. Right after the discussion, Gan asked for a private meeting with Veneracion. During this meeting, Gan informed Veneracion of his desire to leave the company and requested that his resignation be made to take effect after 60 days. Gan asked if he could use the period to find another job or evaluate the feasibility of opening up a business. At that time, Gan told Veneracion that he was thinking of exploring the possibility of opening a drugstore. In addition, Gan requested for the cash conversion of his Sydney Trip Incentive. Veneracion did not immediately respond to Gan’s requests, but asked for time to think about it. As Gan’s proposal was seen to be a precedent-setting arrangement, Veneracion decided to consult the senior managers of the company.
15. At around 11:00 a.m. of 11 April 2002, Gan sent a "text message" to the company's Finance Manager, Winston M. Marquez ("Marquez"). Gan said that he wanted to ask for help on his request for favorable terms from the company concerning his resignation. At around noon, while Gan and Marquez were having lunch, Gan told Marquez that he asked the company to give him a sixty-day grace period, which he will use either to explore the possibility of a (sic) setting up his own business or to look for other employment opportunities. Gan also told Marquez that he requested for the cash conversion of his Trip Incentive. At no time did Gan mention anything about being forced to resign by Veneracion.
16. In the afternoon of 11 April 2002, Veneracion met with Galderma's senior managers (i.e., Executive Assistant Peralta, Finance Manager Marquez, and Senior Product Manager Castro) in order to discuss Gan’s requests. The assessment of the group was that Gan’s proposal would be a "win-win" situation, considering Gan’s apparent change in attitude pertaining to his job assignment and sales incentive. As a gesture of goodwill, the group agreed to grant Gan’s request for a grace period to allow him to either find a new job or set up his own business. It was further agreed that in lieu of Gan’s Trip Incentive, which was not convertible to cash under company policy, the grace period arrangement could be extended for another 30 days.
17. Immediately after the meeting, Veneracion advised Gan of the company's agreement to Gan’s proposal. Gan then submitted his letter of resignation, which was accepted by his immediate superior, Senior Product Manager Castro. Throughout this meeting, Gan was very calm and gave the impression to everybody that he was quite pleased with the approval of his requested grace period arrangement.
18. From April to June 2002, Gan continued to receive his salaries from the company. During the same period, Gan also submitted periodic field reports to the company.12
On April 21, 2003, Labor Arbiter Manuel M. Manansala dismissed the complaint for constructive dismissal.13 He noted that Gan’s separation from Galderma was voluntarily initiated and was concluded by the written resignation letter which was accepted in a business-like manner through a formal office correspondence. The text of Gan’s letter was treated as conclusive, res ipsa loquitur. Agreeing with respondents' contention, the Labor Arbiter cited the case of St. Michael Academy v. NLRC14 insofar as it enumerated the requisites of intimidation which would vitiate one's consent, but are wanting in Gan's case. Likewise pointed out was the presence of the sworn affidavits separately executed by Gan's former co-workers – Gerry M. Castro, Annalyn M. Gamboa, Winston M. Marquez, and Abigail R. Peralta – which were fully supportive of respondents’ defenses. Lastly, applying Samaniego v. NLRC,15 Dizon, Jr. vs. NLRC,16 Habana v. NLRC,17 and San Miguel Brewery Sales Force Union (PTGWO) v. Ople18 invoked by respondents, the Labor Arbiter ruled that Gan surely understood the legal effects of his resignation letter considering that he is an Industrial Engineering graduate of the Mapua Institute of Technology and has Master of Business Administration (MBA) units in Letran College. The fallo of the Decision disposed:
WHEREFORE, premises considered, judgment is hereby rendered:
1. Declaring respondent Galderma Philippines, Inc. (GPI) not guilty of constructive dismissal-illegal constructive dismissal for the reasons above-discussed. Consequently, all the money claims as enumerated and prayed for in complainant Nelson B. Gan's Complaint are hereby denied/dismissed for lack of merit for the reasons above-discussed.
2. Declaring complainant Nelson B. Gan as entitled to his final pay amounting to ₱50,425.02 which he failed to receive from respondent GPI since 15 July 2002. Thus, respondent GPI is hereby directed to pay complainant Gan the aforestated amount.
3. Dismissing the charges against individual respondent Rosendo C. Veneracion as President and General Manager of respondent GPI for lack of merit.
On appeal, the NLRC affirmed the Labor Arbiter's Decision.20 It said that Gan's resignation letter is more determinative in the present controversy as it "distinctly speaks of his reasons for resigning x x x in a mild and sober expression as to graciously give [advance notice to Galderma without a tinge of remorse on his part." In accord with the Labor Arbiter's findings, the NLRC held:
The interchange of words and ideas between the parties herein appurtenant to Gan’s resignation does not in any manner show a color of frustration or an iota of anger by any of the parties. Thus, We cannot see nor perceive that Gan’s resignation letter is a sham or irregular on its face as the same is made by the forced dictation of respondent Veneracion and is involuntary on the part of Gan. For no reason is convincingly adduced on record for us to rationally conclude that Gan was forced, threatened, intimidated or dictated against his will in the absence of a substantial evidence to the contrary. Indeed, Gan’s resignation letter speaks well of itself. Res ipsa loquitur.
In fine, We concur and affirm the Arbiter's disquisition that Gan’s resignation from work is indeed voluntary on his part. Gan’s strongly worded supposition that acts of harassment on the part of respondents forced him to execute and sign the demanded and dictated resignation letter as he has no other choice considering the options given him by respondents which were (a) termination in 15 days, or (b) execute and sign the demanded and dictated letter and get 90 days pay is essentially naked for being unsubstantiated if not totally unfounded. Gan’s bare allegation of force or "dictation" has no place to support the "involuntariness" of forced resignation.
It is more telling to consider that Gan is a managerial employee who holds a sensitive position as Product Manager of respondent company. Undeniably, Gan is a man of letters holding a bachelor's degree in Industrial Engineering and possesses a Master's degree in Business Administration (MBA). As a highly educated individual, Gan must fully understand if not totally comprehend the import of his own words and the consequences of his own acts. Thus, the natural import of the words and expressions of his ideas as manifested by Gan himself should be accorded a literal meaning for being unambiguous. To say the least that the questioned letter is forced is far-fetched and floats in the realm of imagination.21
When Gan's motion for reconsideration was denied by the NLRC on June 22, 2005,22 he subsequently filed before the CA a petition for certiorari under Rule 65 of the 1997 Revised Rules on Civil Procedure.23 On March 21, 2007, the CA denied the petition, finding no grave abuse of discretion on the part of the NLRC.24 In adopting the NLRC's recitation of facts, which was substantially lifted from the factual findings of the Labor Arbiter, the legal conclusions reached by the NLRC were likewise adhered to by the CA. Further, it opined:
x x x While (sic) it may be true that Respondent VENERACION appeared to be hostile towards Gan. However, the latter's allegations failed to show persuasive proof of Respondent VENERACION's desire to deprive him of his employment. Gan would like us to believe that the peculiar circumstances alluded to by him is constitutive of his involuntary act to resign from his post. However, this is belied by his allegation in this Petition which in effect is an implied admission of the non-existence of any hint of anger, dictation, force or harassment employed upon him in the execution of the subject resignation letter.25
Hence, this petition for review on certiorari under Rule 45 of the Rules of Civil Procedure, with the following assigned errors:
I. THE COURT OF APPEALS GRAVELY ERRED IN FINDING THAT GAN VOLUNTARILY RESIGNED AND WAS NOT ILLEGALLY OR CONSTRUCTIVELY DISMISSED, AS EVIDENCED SOLELY BY THE TENOR OF THE SUBJECT RESIGNATION LETTER, WITHOUT CONSIDERING, AS MANDATED BY ESTABLISHED JURISPRUDENCE, THE PECULIAR CIRCUMSTANCES SURROUNDING ITS EXECUTION.
II. COROLLARILY, THE COURT OF APPEALS LIKEWISE COMMITTED GRAVE ABUSE OF DISCRETION IN AFFIRMING THE ERRONEOUS LAMM AND NLRC DECISION DISMISSING ALL OF GAN'S COUNTERCLAIMS.
III. FINALLY, THE COURT OF APPEALS ALSO COMMITTED GRAVE ABUSE OF DISCRETION IN AFFIRMING THE ERRONEOUS LAMM AND NLRC DECISION DISMISSING THE COMPLAINT AGAINST RESPONDENT VENERACION.26
We deny the petition.
Settled is the rule that factual findings of labor officials, who are deemed to have acquired expertise in matters within their jurisdiction, are generally accorded not only with respect but even finality by the courts when supported by substantial evidence, i.e., such amount of relevant evidence which a reasonable mind might accept as adequate to justify a conclusion.27 Likewise, factual findings arrived at by a trier of facts, who is uniquely positioned to observe the demeanor of the witnesses appearing before him and is most competent in judging the credibility of the contending parties, are accorded great weight and certitude.28
In the same vein, the jurisdiction of this Court in cases brought before it from the CA via Rule 45 is generally limited to reviewing errors of law or jurisdiction. In the exercise of its power of review, the findings of fact of the CA are conclusive and binding. The reason is that this Court does not entertain factual issues. It is not our function to analyze or weigh evidence all over again as the evaluation of facts is best left to the trial or administrative agencies/quasi-judicial bodies and appellate court which are better equipped for the task.29
Admittedly, the above rule is not ironclad.30 There are instances in which factual issues may be resolved by this Court, to wit: (1) the conclusion is a finding grounded entirely on speculation, surmise and conjecture; (2) the inference made is manifestly mistaken, absurd or impossible; (3) there is grave abuse of discretion; (4) the judgment is based on a misapprehension of facts; (5) the findings of fact are conflicting; (6) the Court of Appeals goes beyond the issues of the case, and its findings are contrary to the admissions of both appellant and appellees; (7) the findings of fact of the CA are contrary to those of the trial court (in this case, the Labor Arbiter and NLRC); (8) said findings of fact are conclusions without citation of specific evidence on which they are based; (9) the facts set forth in the petition, as well as in the petitioner’s main and reply briefs, are not disputed by the respondent; and (10) the findings of fact of the CA are premised on the supposed absence of evidence and contradicted by the evidence on record.31
This case, however, does not fall under any of the recognized exceptions. After a judicious consideration of the pleadings filed by both parties, the Court finds no compelling reason to reverse the findings of fact as well as conclusions of law of the CA, which sustained the decision of the NLRC affirming the labor arbiter. Indeed, there is no arbitrary disregard or misapprehension of evidence of such nature as to compel a contrary conclusion.
To begin with, constructive dismissal is defined as quitting or cessation of work because continued employment is rendered impossible, unreasonable or unlikely; when there is a demotion in rank or a diminution of pay and other benefits.32 It exists if an act of clear discrimination, insensibility, or disdain by an employer becomes so unbearable on the part of the employee that it could foreclose any choice by him except to forego his continued employment.33 There is involuntary resignation due to the harsh, hostile, and unfavorable conditions set by the employer.34 The test of constructive dismissal is whether a reasonable person in the employee's position would have felt compelled to give up his employment/position under the circumstances.35
On the other hand, "resignation is the voluntary act of an employee who is in a situation where one believes that personal reasons cannot be sacrificed in favor of the exigency of the service, and one has no other choice but to dissociate oneself from employment. It is a formal pronouncement or relinquishment of an office, with the intention of relinquishing the office accompanied by the act of relinquishment. As the intent to relinquish must concur with the overt act of relinquishment, the acts of the employee before and after the alleged resignation must be considered in determining whether he or she, in fact, intended to sever his or her employment."36
Since Gan submitted a resignation letter, it is incumbent upon him to prove with clear, positive, and convincing evidence that his resignation was not voluntary but was actually a case of constructive dismissal; that it is a product of coercion or intimidation.37 He has to prove his allegations with particularity.
Gan could not have been coerced. Coercion exists when there is a reasonable or well-grounded fear of an imminent evil upon a person or his property or upon the person or property of his spouse, descendants or ascendants.38 Neither do the facts of this case disclose that Gan was intimidated. In St. Michael Academy v. NLRC,39 We enumerated the requisites for intimidation to vitiate one’s consent, thus:
x x x (1) that the intimidation caused the consent to be given; (2) that the threatened act be unjust or unlawful; (3) that the threat be real or serious, there being evident disproportion between the evil and the resistance which all men can offer, leading to the choice of doing the act which is forced on the person to do as the lesser evil; and (4) that it produces a well-grounded fear from the fact that the person from whom it comes has the necessary means or ability to inflict the threatened injury to his person or property. x x x40
The instances of "harassment" alleged by Gan are more apparent than real. Aside from the need to treat his accusations with caution for being self-serving due to lack of substantial documentary or testimonial evidence to corroborate the same, the acts of "harassment," if true, do not suffice to be considered as "peculiar circumstances" material to the execution of the subject resignation letter.
First, the words allegedly uttered by Veneracion which asked Gan to "reconsider his stay," "make his move," or that "Galderma will be better off without him," are ambivalent and susceptible of varying interpretations depending on one’s feelings, bias, and emotional threshold. All these are subjective and highly speculative or even presumptuous. Veneracion’s intent to dismiss Gan cannot reasonably be inferred therefrom. Much less, the words do not definitely show Veneracion's firm resolve to act on such intent. At the most, the remarks may be regarded as sarcastic or suggestive of a plan of action which may or may not include a plot to actually, or even constructively, dismiss Gan.
Second, Gan repeatedly boasts of his "excellent performance" in and "immense contribution" to Galderma's success. If that is the case, his proper mindset towards Veneracion's attacks on his purported work ethics (such as "slow," "lacking in initiative," "uncooperative," "negative attitude," "remiss in duties as product manager," "negative work behaviour," "poor performance," "incompetence," "distraction/liability in Galderma") should have been to simply brush them aside and continue doing what he is supposed to do as the product manager of CBPL, Locetar and Benzac brands. He should have thought that his "good performance record" would speak for itself and would stand the test of any baseless accusation, whether it be hurled to him in close-door or in full view of others. Gan did not see it this way. He considered the comments as manifestations of "harassment." His oversensitivity, which is rather surprising for an experienced sales and marketing manager who should have been so used to customer rejection or indifference and to superior's assertive or temperamental side due to constant pressure of keeping up and beating market competition, would not help him make a case.
Third, the revision of Gan’s 2002 incentive scheme cannot be considered as a form of harassment. The change is not a diminution of benefits, since Gan would have also received the same sum if he achieved the desired targets for the Locetar and Benzac brands, the two new products which were added under his watch. Gan admitted that such act is a valid exercise of management prerogative; hence, he should have realized that their inclusion necessarily called for a corresponding modification of the incentive scheme so as to accurately measure his effectiveness in handling all three products, not just one or two of them. Nonetheless, while this Court holds that the 2002 revised incentive scheme is a reasonable and valid exercise of management prerogative, We agree with Gan that its immediate implementation, taking effect in April 2002, is improper for want of 30-day prior notice. Thus, for April 2002, Gan should have received the same monetary benefits granted under the 2002 incentive scheme per December 14, 2001 Office Correspondence.
A pivotal argument raised by Gan in this petition is that Veneracion’s 10th act of harassment – his statement that Gan "would be given 15 days to look for another job" – already constitutes actual illegal dismissal, a termination without just or valid cause. In support thereof, he cited the case of Far East Agricultural Supply, Inc. v. Lebatique.41
Unlike in Gan's case, the employee involved in Far East Agricultural Supply, Inc. did not submit a resignation letter. Instead, Lebatique’s employer alleged that he abandoned his job. Hence, this Court held:
The records show that petitioners failed to prove that Lebatique abandoned his job. Nor was there a showing of a clear intention on the part of Lebatique to sever the employer-employee relationship. When Lebatique was verbally told by Alexander Uy, the company’s General Manager, to look for another job, Lebatique was in effect dismissed. Even assuming earlier he was merely suspended for illegal use of company vehicle, the records do not show that he was afforded the opportunity to explain his side. It is clear also from the sequence of the events leading to Lebatique’s dismissal that it was Lebatique’s complaint for nonpayment of his overtime pay that provoked the management to dismiss him, on the erroneous premise that a truck driver is a field personnel not entitled to overtime pay.42
What the records of this case reveal is that Gan deliberately wrote and filed a resignation letter that is couched in a clear, concise, and categorical language. Its content confirmed his unmistakable intent to resign. The resignation letter indicates that he was resigning "to pursue the establishment of his own business or explore opportunities with other companies." The reasons stated for relinquishing his position are but logical options for a person of his experience and standing.
Further, distinct from Far East Agricultural Supply, Inc., respondent Veneracion disputed the allegation that Gan was given 15 days to look for another job. His categorical denial was backed up by Castro, who was also present when the alleged incident happened on April 11, 2002. Their duly sworn statements, unless proven to be false or perjured, bear more weight and credence than Gan's lonesome representations.1âwphi1
Lastly, in contrast with Lebatique who was a mere truck driver of animal feeds receiving a daily wage of Php 223.50 at 1996 rate, Gan is no ordinary laborer with limited education and skills; he is not a rank-and-file employee with inadequate understanding such that he would be easily beguiled or forced into doing something against his will. He was a managerial employee holding a responsible position and receiving more than the mandated minimum wage. He also appears to have a good professional track record that highlights his marketability.43 At the time he resigned, he had more than a decade of experience in sales and marketing with expertise in product management.44 Indeed, it would be absurd to assume that he did not understand the full import of the words he used in his resignation letter and the consequences of executing the same.
What is evident, therefore, is that Gan's resignation is NOT "a case of adherence, not of choice," but was a product of a mutually beneficial arrangement. We agree with respondents that the result of the negotiation leading to Gan's resignation is a "win-win" solution for both parties. On one hand, Gan was able to obtain a favorable severance pay while getting flexible working hours to implement his post-resignation career options. On the other hand, Galderma was able to cut its relation with an employee perceived to be unwilling to perform additional product responsibilities while being given ample time to look for an alternative to hire and train. Indeed, Gan voluntarily resigned from Galderma for a valuable consideration. He negotiated for an improvement of the resignation package offered and he managed to obtain an acceptable one. As opposed to the case of San Miguel Corporation v. NLRC,45 Gan was not tricked or was "morally and psychologically hoodwinked" to draft, sign, and tender his resignation letter. It was not made without proper discernment and time to reflect; nor was it a knee-jerk reaction that left him with no alternative but to accede.46
Having resolved the case on the basis of the foregoing, it is needless to delve into Gan's second and third assigned errors.
WHEREFORE, the March 21, 2007 Decision of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. SP No. 91118, which upheld the resolutions of the NLRC affirming the Labor Arbiter's ruling that dismissed Gan's complaint for constructive dismissal, 1s hereby AFFIRMED WITH MODIFICATION insofar as Our ruling that, for April 2002, Gan is still entitled to the monetary benefits provided under the original 2002 incentive scheme. The Labor Arbiter is hereby DIRECTED to include in Gan's final pay of ₱50,425.02, the difference in the amount he actually received as incentive/s per his payslip of April 2002.
DIOSDADO M. PERALTA*
PRESBITERO J. VELASCO, JR.
|ROBERTO A. ABAD
|JOSE PORTUGAL PEREZ
JOSE CATRAL MENDOZA
A T T E S T A T I O N
I attest that the conclusions in the above Decision had been reached in consultation before the case was assigned to the writer of the opinion of the Court's Division.
PRESBITERO J. VELASCO, JR.
Chairperson, Third Division
C E R T I F I C A T I O N
Pursuant to Section 13, Article VIII of the Constitution and the Division Chairperson's Attestation, I certify that the conclusions in the above Decision had been reached in consultation before the case was assigned to the writer of the opinion of the Court's Division.
MARIA LOURDES P. A. SERENO
* Designated additional member, in lieu of Associate Justice Marvic Mario Victor F. Leonen, per Special Order No. 1412 dated January 16, 2013.
1 Penned by Associate Justice Myrna Dimaranan Vidal, with Associate Justices Jose L. Sabia. Jr. and Jose C. Reyes, Jr. concurring; rollo, pp. 76-93.
2 Rollo, pp. 211-217.
3 Id. at 390, 465.
4 Id. at 15-17; 245-250.
5 Id. at 17; 251-253.
6 Id. at 253.
7 Id. at 250.
8 Id. at 254.
9 Id. at 255.
10 Id. at 181-210.
11 Id. at 17-25.
12 Id. at 874-879.
13 Id. at 536-556.
14 G.R. No. 119512, July 13, 1998, 292 SCRA 478; 354 Phil. 491 (1998).
15 G.R. No. 93059, June 3, 1991, 198 SCRA 111.
16 G.R. No. 69018, January 29, 1990, 181 SCRA 472; 260 Phil. 501 (1990).
17 G.R. No. 121486, November 16, 1998, 298 SCRA 537; 359 Phil. 65 (1998).
18 G.R. No. 53515, February 8, 1989, 170 SCRA 25; 252 Phil. 27 (1989).
19 Rollo, pp. 555-556.
20 CA rollo, pp. 66-83.
21 Id. at 81-82.
22 Id. at 85-86.
23 Id. at 2-63.
24 Rollo, pp. 76-93.
25 Id. at 89.
26 Id. at 33.
27 Julie's Bakeshop v. Arnaiz, G.R. No. 173882, February 15, 2012, 666 SCRA 101, 113-114; Philippine Veterans Bank v. NLRC (Fourth Division), G.R. No. 188882, March 30, 2010, 617 SCRA 204, 212; and Merck Sharp and Dohme (Philippines) v. Robles, G.R. No. 176506, November 25, 2009, 605 SCRA 488, 494.
28 Metro Transit Organization, Inc. v. NLRC, G.R. No. 122046, January 16, 1998, 284 SCRA 308, 314; 348 Phil. 334, 340 (1998).
29 See Dimagan v. Dacworks United, Incorporated, G.R. No. 191053, November 28, 2011, 661 SCRA 438, 445 and Pharmacia and Upjohn, Inc. v. Albayda, Jr., G.R. No. 172724, August 23, 2010, 628 SCRA 544, 557.
30 Dimagan v. Dacworks United, Incorporated, supra.
31 Galang v. Malasugui, G.R. No. 174173, March 7, 2012, 667 SCRA 622, 631-632; Pharmacia and Upjohn, Inc. v. Albayda, Jr., supra note 29; and Merck Sharp and Dohme (Philippines) v. Robles, supra note 27, at 494-495.
32 Morales v. Harbour Centre Port Terminal, Inc., G.R. No. 174208, January 25, 2012, 664 SCRA 110, 117 and Dimagan v. Dacworks United, Incorporated, supra note 29, at 446.
33 Morales v. Harbour Centre Port Terminal, Inc., supra, at 117-118; Gilles v. Court of Appeals, G.R. No. 149273, June 5, 2009, 588 SCRA 298, 316.
34 Gilles v. Court of Appeals, supra.
35 Dimagan v. Dacworks United, Incorporated, supra note 29, at 446; Philippine Veterans Bank v. NLRC (Fourth Division), supra note 27, at 213; and CRC Agricultural Trading v. NLRC, G.R. No. 177664, December 23, 2009, 609 SCRA 138, 149.
36 Nationwide Security and Allied Services, Inc. v. Valderama, G.R. No. 186614, February 23, 2011, 644 SCRA 299, 307-308. See also BMG Records (Phils.), Inc. v. Aparecio, G.R. No. 153290, September 5, 2007, 532 SCRA 300, 313-314.
37 Vicente v. Court of Appeals, G.R. No. 175988, August 24, 2007, 531 SCRA 240, 250.
38 Globe Telecom v. Crisologo, G.R. No. 174644, August 10, 2007, 529 SCRA 811, 820.
39 Supra note 14.
40 Supra note 14, at 496; 509-510, citing Guatson International Travel and Tours, Inc. v. NLRC, G.R. No. 100322, March 9, 1994, 230 SCRA 815, 822. See also Mandapat v. Add Force Personnel Services, Inc., G.R. No. 180285, July 6, 2010, 624 SCRA 155, 165; BMG Records (Phils.), Inc. v. Aparecio, supra note 36, at 312-313; and Vicente v. Court of Appeals, supra note 37, at 251.
41 G.R. No. 162813, February 12, 2007, 515 SCRA 491; 544 Phil. 420 (2007).
42 Far East Agricultural Supply, Inc. v. Lebatique, supra, at 497-498.
43 See Domondon v. NLRC, G.R. No. 154376, September 30, 2005, 471 SCRA 559, 568; 508 Phil. 541, 549 (2005).
44 Rollo, p. 391.
45 G.R. No. 107693, July 23, 1998, 293 SCRA 13; 354 Phil. 815 (1998).
46 See Metro Transit Organization, Inc. v. NLRC, supra note 28, at 312; 338.
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