Almirante: Who is the employer?-A A +A
Saturday, January 12, 2013
Labor case digest
PETITIONER Charlie Jao alleged that respondents BCC Product Sales, Inc. (BCC) and Terrance Ty employed him as a comptroller. On Oct. 19, 1995, the security guards of BCC barred him from entering its premises.
Respondent BCC countered that petitioner was not its employee but that of Sobien Food Corp. (SFC), its major creditor and supplier. SFC had posted him as its comptroller in BCC to oversee BCC’s finance and business operations and to look after SFC’s interests or investments in BCC. Which contention is more meritorious?
Ruling: That of BCC.
The Supreme Court’s (SC) perusal of the affidavit of petitioner compels a conclusion similar to that reached by the Court of Appeals (CA) and the Labor Arbiter to the effect that the affidavit supported the contention that petitioner had really worked in BCC as SFC’s representative.
It does seem more natural and more believable that petitioner’s affidavit was referring to his employment by SFC even while he was reporting to BCC as a comptroller in behalf of SFC. As respondents pointed out, it was implausible for SFC to still post him to oversee and supervise the collections of accounts receivables due from BCC beyond December 1995 if, as he insisted, BCC had already illegally dismissed him and had even prevented him from entering the premises of BCC. Given the patent animosity and strained relations between him and respondents in such circumstances, indeed, how could he still efficiently perform in behalf of SFC the essential responsibility to “oversee and supervise collections” at BCC? Surely, respondents would have vigorously objected to any arrangement with SFC involving him.
We note that petitioner executed the affidavit in March 1996 to refute a statement Ty himself made in his own affidavit dated Dec. 11, 1995 to the effect that petitioner had illegally appropriated some checks without authority from BCC. Petitioner thereby sought to show that he had the authority to receive the checks pursuant to the arrangements between SFC and BCC.
This showing would aid in fending off the criminal charge respondents filed against him arising from his mishandling of the checks. Naturally, the circumstances petitioner adverted to in his March 1996 affidavit concerned those occurring before December 11, 1995, the same period when he actually worked as comptroller in BCC (Charlie Jao vs. BCC Products Sales Inc. and Terrance Ty, G.R. No. 163700, April 18, 2012).
(Almirante is a former labor arbiter)
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on January 12, 2013.