Monday, February 20, 2012

Alcira vs. NLRC G. R. No. 149859, June 9, 2004

Facts: The petitioner, Radin Alcira, was hired by the respondent Middleby Philippines Corporation as engineering support services supervisor under probationary status for 6 months. Afterwards, the service of the petitioner was terminated by the respondent on the ground that the latter was not satisfied on the performance of the former. As a result, the petitioner filed a complaint foe illegal dismissal in the National Labor Relations Commission (NLRC) against the respondent.

Petitioner contended that his termination in the service tantamount to illegal dismissal since he attained the status of a regular employee as of the time of dismissal. He presented the appointment paper showing that he was hired on May 20, 1996, consequently, his dismissal on November 20, 1996 was illegal because at that time, he was already a regular employee since the 6-month probationary period ended on November 16, 1996.

The respondent, on the other hand, asserted that during the petitioner’s probationary period, he showed poor performance on his assigned tasks, was late couple of times and violated the company’s rule. Thus, the petitioner was terminated and his application to become a regular employment was disapproved. The respondent also insisted that the removal of the petitioner from office was within the probationary period.

The Labor Arbiter dismissed the complaint on the ground that the dismissal of the petitioner was done before his regularization because the 6- month probationary period, counting from May 20, 1996 shall end on November 20, 1996. The NLRC affirmed the decision of the Labor Arbiter. The Court of Appeals affirmed the decision of NLRC. Hence, the present recourse.

Issue: Whether the petitioner was already a regular employee in respondent’s company at the time of his dismissal from the service

Held: The Supreme Court ruled in the negative. The status of the petitioner at the time of his termination was still probationary. His dismissal on November 20, 1996 was within the 6- month probationary period. Article 13 of the Civil Code provides that when the law speaks of years, months, and days and nights, it shall be understood that years are of 365 days, months of 30 days, days of 24 hours and nights are from sunset to sunrise. Since, one month is composed of 30 days, then, 6 months shall be understood to be composed of 180 days. And the computation of the 6- month period is reckoned from the date of appointment up to the same calendar date of the 6th month following. Since, the number of days of a particular month is irrelevant, petitioner was still a probationary employee at the time of his dismissal. Wherefore, the petition is dismissed.

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