Almirante: Failure to appeal

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By Dominador Almirante

Labor case Digest

Saturday, February 15, 2014


Respondent Mary Sheila Arcobillas instituted a complaint for illegal dismissal with money claims against petitioner Philippine National Bank (PNB). The labor arbiter ordered her reinstatement to her former position with full back wages from the date of promulgation of the decision, and the payment of 13th month pay for the year 1999, unpaid salaries for the period February 2000 to March 15, 2000 and attorney’s fees. The National Labor Relations Commission (NLRC) affirmed the decision with modification regarding the sharing of financial losses.

The Court of Appeals (CA) affirmed the decision of the NLRC with modification on the sharing of losses between petitioner and respondent.

From the CA decision, petitioner PNB filed with the Supreme Court a petition for review on certiorari. Respondent Arcobillas did not take any further action on the decision.

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In her comment to the petition, however, she prayed for, among others, the payment of the following: unpaid salaries for February 2000 to March 15, 2000; anniversary bonus as of July 21, 1999; millennium bonus due since Dec. 23, 1999; teller’s incentive allowance for 1999 and for Jan. 1 to March 15, 2000; hospitalization benefit due in January 2000; and 13th month pay for the year 1999. Is there merit to these claims?

The Supreme Court ruling: No.

With respect to Arcobillas’s claims for unpaid salaries and other benefits, suffice it to state that the monetary awards granted by the Labor Arbiter as affirmed by the NLRC are already final and binding due to her failure to file an appeal to question these awards.

Her contention that she is entitled to affirmative relief since she raised these issues in her Comment to PNB’s Petition for Certiorari and Memorandum before the CA cannot lie in consonance with our earlier pronouncement that all proceedings before the CA are considered null and void. Moreover, it has been held that “an appellee who is not an appellant may assign errors in her brief where her purpose is to maintain the judgment, but she cannot seek modification or reversal of the judgment or claim affirmative relief unless she has also appealed.” Thus, we cannot grant her any affirmative relief.

The monetary awards to which she is entitled are only confined to those contained in the dispositive portion of the Labor Arbiter’s Decision as affirmed by the NLRC, as follows: 1) full back wages inclusive of allowances and other benefits or their monetary equivalent from March 16, 2000 to date of promulgation of the decision; 2) 13th month pay for the year 1999; 3) unpaid salaries for the period February 2000 to March 15, 2000; and 4) 10 percent attorney’s fee. (Philippine National Bank vs. Mary Sheila Arcobillas, G.R. No. 179648, Aug. 7, 2013).

(Almirante is a former labor arbiter)

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on February 16, 2014.

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