Almirante: Quantum of everyone-A A +A
Friday, July 13, 2012
PETITIONER Bitoy Javier alleged that he was an employee of respondent Fly Ace Corp., performing various tasks at its warehouse such as cleaning and arranging the canned items before their delivery to certain locations, except in instances when he would be ordered to accompany the company’s delivery vehicles as pahinante. To support his claim, Javier adduced no other evidence except an affidavit executed by one Bengie Valenzuela, who only attested that he would frequently see Javier at the workplace where he was also hired as stevedore. Does Javier’s evidence suffice to establish employer-employee relationship between Fly Ace and him?
Expectedly, opposing parties would stand poles apart and proffer allegations as different as chalk and cheese. It is, therefore, incumbent upon the Court to determine whether the party on whom the burden to prove lies was able to hurdle the same. “No particular form of evidence is required to prove the existence of such employer-employee relationship. Any competent and relevant evidence to prove the relationship may be admitted. Hence, while no particular form of evidence is required, a finding that such relationship exists must still rest on some substantial evidence. Moreover, the substantiality of the evidence depends on its quantitative as well as its qualitative aspects.” Although substantial evidence is not a function of quantity but rather of quality, the x x x circumstances of the instant case demand that something more should have been proffered. Had there been other proofs of employment, such as x x x inclusion in petitioner’s payroll, or a clear exercise of control, the Court would have affirmed the finding of employer-employee relationship.”
In sum, the rule of thumb remains: the onus probandi falls on petitioner to establish or substantiate such claim by the requisite quantum of evidence. “Whoever claims entitlement to the benefits provided by law should establish his or her right thereto x x x.”
In this case, the labor arbiter and the Court of Appeals (CA) both concluded that Javier failed to establish his employment with Fly Ace. All that Javier presented were his self-serving statements purportedly showing his activities as an employee of Fly Ace. He failed to pass the substantiality requirement to support his claim. Hence, the Court sees no reason to depart from the findings of the CA.
While Javier remains firm in his position that as an employed stevedore of Fly Ace, he was made to work in the company premises during weekdays arranging and cleaning grocery items for delivery to clients, no other proof was submitted. The lone affidavit executed by one Bengie Valenzuela was unsuccessful in strengthening Javier’s cause. All Valenzuela attested to was that he would frequently see Javier at the workplace where the latter was also hired as stevedore. Tthe Court cannot ignore the inescapable conclusion that Javier’s mere presence at the workplace falls short in proving employment therein. The affidavit could have bolstered Javier’s claim of being tasked to clean grocery items when there were no scheduled delivery trips, but no information was offered simply because the witness had no personal knowledge of Javier’s employment status. The Court cannot accept Javier’s statements, hook, line and sinker. (Bitoy Javier vs. Fly Ace Corp./Flordelyn Castillo, G.R. No. 192558, Feb. 15, 2012).
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on July 14, 2012.