Almirante: Review of NLRC decision

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Saturday, March 31, 2012


THE National Labor Relations Commission (NLRC) partially affirmed the labor arbiter’s decision in the case filed by security guard Timoteo H. Sarona against the Royale Security Agency (formerly the Sceptre Security Agency).

It concurred with the finding that the petitioner was illegally dismissed and the manner by which the separation pay was computed, but reduced the award of backwages.

The petitioner moved for the execution of the NLRC’s decision, and respondents paid him the full amount of the monetary award. The petitioner’s motion for release of the award contains a reservation that it is without prejudice to the outcome of the petition with the Court of Appeals (CA). Is the petitioner barred from questioning the manner by which his backwages and separation pay were computed?

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Ruling: No.

The finality of the NLRC’s decision does not preclude the filing of a petition for certiorari under Rule 65 of the Rules of Court. That the NLRC issues an entry of judgment after the lapse of ten (10) days from the parties’ receipt of its decision will only give rise to the prevailing party’s right to move for the execution thereof but will not prevent the CA from taking cognizance of a petition for certiorari on jurisdictional and due process considerations.

In turn, the decision rendered by the CA on a petition for certiorari may be appealed to this Court by way of a petition for review on certiorari under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court. Under Section 5, Article VIII of the Constitution, this Court has the power to “review, revise, reverse, modify, or affirm on appeal or certiorari as the law or the Rules of Court may provide, final judgments and orders of lower courts in x x x all cases in which only an error or question of law is involved.”

Consistent with this constitutional mandate, Rule 45 of the Rules of Court provides the remedy of an appeal by certiorari from decisions, final orders or resolutions of the CA in any case, i.e., regardless of the nature of the action or proceedings involved, which would be but a continuation of the appellate process over the original case.

Since an appeal to this Court is not an original and independent action but a continuation of the proceedings before the CA, the filing of a petition for review under Rule 45 cannot be barred by the finality of the NLRC’s decision in the same way that a petition for certiorari under Rule 65 with the CA cannot.

Furthermore, if the NLRC’s decision or resolution was reversed and set aside for being issued with grave abuse of discretion by way of a petition for certiorari to the CA or to this Court by way of an appeal from the decision of the CA, it is considered void ab initio and, thus, had never become final and executory (Timoteo H. Sarona vs. NLRC, et. al., G.R. No. 185280, Jan. 18, 2012).

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on March 31, 2012.

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