Almirante: Breach of trust-A A +A
Friday, September 14, 2012
Labor case digest
PETITIONER Lynvil Fishing Enterprises, Inc. (Lynvil) is engaged in deep-sea fishing. Respondents’ services were engaged in various capacities: Andres G. Ariola, captain; Jessie D. Alcovendas, chief mate; Jimmy B. Calinao, chief engineer; Ismael G. Nubla, cook; Elorde Bañez, oiler; and Leopoldo G. Sebullen, bodegero.
On Aug. 1, 1998, Lynvil received a report from Ramonito Clarido, one of its employees, that on July 31, 1998, he witnessed that while on board the company vessel Analyn VIII, respondents conspired with one another and stole eight tubs of “pampano” and “tangigue” fish and delivered them to another vessel.
Lynvil dismissed respondents for breach of trust. Is the dismissal justified?
Breach of trust is present in this case.
We agree with the ruling of the Labor Arbiter and Court of Appeals that the quantity of tubs expected to be received was the same as that which was loaded. However, what is material is the kind of fish loaded and then unloaded. Sameness is likewise needed.
We cannot close our eyes to the positive and clear narration of facts of the three witnesses to the commission of qualified theft. Jonathan Distajo, a crew member of the Analyn VIII, stated in his letter addressed to De Borja dated Aug. 8, 1998, that while the vessel was traversing San Nicolas, Cavite, he saw a small boat approach them. When the boat was next to their vessel, Alcovendas went inside the stockroom while Sebullen pushed an estimated four tubs of fish away from it. Ariola, on the other hand, served as the lookout and negotiator of the transaction. Finally, Bañez and Calinao helped in putting the tubs in the small boat. He further added that he received P800 as his share for the transaction.
Romanito Clarido, who was also on board the vessel, corroborated the narration of Distajo on all accounts in his 25 August 1998 affidavit. He added that Alcovendas told him to keep silent about what happened on that day. Sealing tight the credibility of the narration of theft is the affidavit executed by Elorde Bañez dated May 3, 1999.
Bañez was one of the dismissed employees who actively participated in the taking of the tubs. He clarified in the affidavit that the four tubs taken out of the stockroom in fact contained fish taken from the eight tubs. He further stated that Ariola told everyone in the vessel not to say anything and instead file a labor case against the management. Clearly, we cannot fault Lynvil and De Borja when it dismissed the employees. (Lynvil Fishing Enterprises, Inc. and/or Rosendo S. De Borja vs. Andres G. Ariola, Jessie D. Alcovendas, Jimmy B. Calinao and Leopoldo G. Sebullen, G.R. No. 181974).
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on September 15, 2012.