Monday, January 11, 2016

Pfizer, Inc., vs. Geraldine Velasco [GR No. 177467, March 9, 2011]

FACTS: Geraldine L. Velasco was employed with PFIZER, INC. as Professional Health Care Representative. Because of her high-risk pregnancy, she was advised a bed rest which resulted in her extending her leave of absence. While she was still on leave, PFIZER served a "Show-Cause Notice" mentioning about an investigation on her possible violations of company work rules regarding "unauthorized deals and/or discounts in money or samples and unauthorized withdrawal and/or pull-out of stocks." Private respondent  Velasco denied the charges. She received a "Second Show-Cause Notice" informing her of additional developments in their investigation where a certain Carlito Jomen executed an affidavit pointing her as the one who transacted with a printing shop to print PFIZER discount coupons. She asked for additional time to answer the second Show-Cause Notice. Velasco filed a complaint for illegal suspension with money claims before the Regional Arbitration Branch. PFIZER sent her a letter inviting her to a disciplinary hearing. Velasco received it under protest and informed PFIZER that she had lodged a complaint against the latter and that the issues that may be raised in the hearing "can be tackled during the hearing of her case" or at the preliminary conference. She likewise opted to withhold answering the Second Show-Cause Notice. A "Third Show-Cause Notice" was sent to her. Finally, PFIZER informed Velasco of its management decision terminating her employment. The Labor Arbiter rendered its decision declaring the dismissal of Velasco illegal, ordering her reinstatement with backwages and further awarding moral and exemplary damages with attorney's fees.

ISSUE: Whether the private respondent was immediately reinstated

HELD: No. The provision of Article 223 is clear that an award for reinstatement shall be immediately executory even pending appeal and the posting of a bond by the mployer shall not stay the execution for reinstatement. The legislative intent is quite obvious, i.e., to make an award of reinstatement immediately enforceable, even pending appeal. To require the application for  and issuance of a writ of execution as prerequisites for the execution of a reinstatement award would certainly betray and run counter to the very object and intent of Article 223, ie., the immediate execution of reinstatement order.

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