Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Pacific Asia Overseas Shipping Corporation vs. NLRC [G.R. No. 76595 May 6, 1988]

Facts: Pacific Asia Overseas Shipping Corporation (Pascor), petitioner seeks the annulment and setting aside of the Resolutions of the public respondent National Labor Relations Commission (NLRC) dated 14 August 1986 and 19 November 1986, denying Pascor's appeal for having been filed out of time and denying its Motion for Reconsideration, respectively. Private respondent Teodoro Rances sometime in March 1984, was engaged by petitioner Pascor as Radio Operator of a vessel belonging to Pascor's foreign principal, the Gulf-East Ship Management Limited. Four (4) months later, and after having been transferred from one vessel to another four times for misbehavior and inability to get along with officers and crew members of each of the vessels, the foreign principal terminated the services of private respondent Rances citing the latter's poor and incorrigible work attitude and incitement of others to insubordination. Petitioner Pascor filed a complaint against private respondent with the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) for acts unbecoming a marine officer and for, character assassination. 

On 4 September 1985, the POEA found private respondent liable for inciting another officer or seaman to insubordination and challenging a superior officer to a fist fight and imposed six (6) months suspension for each offense or a total of twelve (12) months suspension, with a warning that commission of the same or similar offense in the future would be met with a stiffer disciplinary sanction. The POEA decision passed over sub silentio the counterclaim of private respondent. In its answer filed on 11 December 1985, petitioner Pascor made four principal arguments: that the copy of the Dubai decision relied upon by private respondent could not be considered as evidence, not having been properly authenticated; that Pascor was not a party to the Dubai court proceedings; that the POEA had no jurisdiction over cases for the enforcement of foreign judgments; and that the claim had already been resolved in POEA, having been there dismissed as a counterclaim. In a decision dated 14 April 1986, the POEA held petitioner Pascor liable to pay private respondent Rances the amount of US$ 1,500.00 "at the prevailing rate of exchange at the time of payment." This decision was served on petitioner's counsel on 18 April 1986, which counsel filed a 'Memorandum on Appeal and/or Motion for Reconsideration" on 29 April 1986. 

Issue: Whether or not POEA denial of petitioner's appeal and Motion for Reconsideration is within its jurisdiction in rendering decision of its Orders dated 14 August and 19 November 1986? 

Held: The court conclude that the POEA acted without or in excess of jurisdiction in rendering its Decision dated 14 April 1986 and its Order dated 20 May 1986, and that public respondent NLRC similarly acted without or in excess of jurisdiction in rendering its Orders dated 14 August 1986 and 19 November 1986 denying petitioner's appeal and Motion for Reconsideration. This, however, is without prejudice to the right of respondent Rances to initiate another proceeding before the POEA against petitioner Pascor, this time on the basis alone of the contract of employment which existed between said respondent and petitioner or petitioner's foreign principal; there, respondent Rances may seek to show that he is still entitled to the allotments which he claims were not remitted by his employer to his wife. 

ACCORDINGLY, the Petition for certiorari is GRANTED and the Resolutions of public respondent NLRC dated 14 August 1986 and 19 November 1986 are hereby NULLIFIED and SET ASIDE. The Temporary Restraining Order issued by this Court on 8 December 1986 is hereby made PERCENT. No pronouncement as to costs. 


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