Almirante: Policy prevails over memo-A A +A
Friday, October 12, 2012
ON Jan. 1, 1996, respondent ABS-CBN Head Office in Manila issued Policy No. HR-ER-016, requiring that an employee who intends to run for any public office must file his/her letter of resignation.
On March 25, 1998, Dante Luzon, Cebu assistant station manager, issued a memorandum informing that per company policy, any employee/talent who wants to run for any position in the then coming election will have to file a leave of absence.
Petitioner Ernesto G. Ymbong claims that pursuant to the March 25, 1998 memorandum, he informed Luzon that he would take a few months’ leave of absence from March 8, 1998 to May 18, 1998 since he was running for councilor of Lapu-Lapu City.
When he lost in his bid, he tried to come back to respondent but was turned down because of company policy. Thus, he filed a complaint for illegal dismissal claiming that Policy No. HR-ER-016 was superseded by the March 25, 1998 memorandum. Can the complaint prosper?
The Court of Appeals correctly ruled that though Luzon, as assistant station manager for radio of ABS-CBN, has policy-making powers in relation to his principal task of administering the network’s radio station in the Cebu region, the exercise of such power should be in accord with the general rules and regulations imposed by the ABS-CBN Head Office to its employees.
Clearly, the March 25, 1998 Memorandum issued by Luzon, which only requires employees to go on leave if they intend to run for any elective position is in absolute contradiction with Policy No. HR-ER-016 issued by the ABS-CBN Head Office in Manila, which requires the resignation, not only the filing of a leave of absence, of any employee who intends to run for public office.
Having been issued beyond the scope of his authority, the March 25, 1998 Memorandum is therefore void and did not supersede Policy No. HR-ER-016.
Also worth noting is that Luzon in his Sworn Statement admitted the inaccuracy of his
recollection of the company policy when he issued the March 25, 1998 Memorandum and stated therein that upon double-checking of the exact text of the policy statement and subsequent confirmation with the ABS-CBN Head Office in Manila, he learned that the policy required resignation for those who will actually run in elections because the company wanted to maintain its independence. Since the officer who himself issued the subject memorandum acknowledged that it is not in harmony with the Policy issued by the upper management, there is no reason for it to be a source of right for Ymbong.
(Ernesto G. Ymbong vs. ABS-CBN Broadcasting Corp., et. al., G.R. No. 184885, March 7, 2012).
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on October 13, 2012.