Trust and confidence: Labor case digesta sa kaong anak

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Friday, August 29, 2014


RESPONDENT Ignacio Gallente was employed as dean of the Colleges of Arts and Sciences and Public Administration of petitioner Baguio Central University (BCU). Last Feb. 5, 2005, Gallente, using the name “Genesis Gallente,” along with six other incorporators, organized the GRC Review and Language Center, Inc. (GRC). The GRC’s Articles of Incorporation listed its primary purpose as “to conduct review classes for teachers, nursing, engineering and other professional and technical for Board Licensure examinations and Civil Service Professional examination,” and its secondary purpose as “to conduct tutorial and proficiency trainings for foreign languages.” The articles also listed the BCU as the GRC’s primary address.

The BCU’s president subsequently called Gallente’s attention regarding the establishment of the GRC and his use of the BCU as the GRC’s address and of the BCU’s resources. A grievance meeting was conducted to give him an opportunity to explain his side. Last Sept. 30, 2005, Gallente tendered a written resignation. Last Dec. 8, 2005, he filed a complaint for illegal (constructive) dismissal, and monetary claims. Can the complaint prosper?

The Supreme Court (Second Division) ruling: No.

As dean, Gallente was responsible for the overall administration of his departments.

This responsibility includes ensuring that his departments’ curriculum and program of study, to be adopted by the BCU, are up to date, relevant and reflective of the scholastic requirements for the respective fields. And, to say the least, this curriculum and program of study should be sufficient so that students would pass the requisite government examination, even without enrolling in any review course. This responsibility also involves formulating the educational policies in his departments as well as enforcing the BCU’s policies, rules and regulations on subject loads, subject sequence and subject pre-requisites and on admission and registration of students. In short, as Dean, Gallente was duty-bound to uphold the BCU’s interest above all.

Obviously, these duties will conflict with his responsibilities as organizer and president of the GRC. In these latter positions, Gallente would have likewise been obligated to recommend or formulate the GRC’s program of study as well as the hiring of reviewers and regulating their topical or subject assignments. He would have also been compelled to secure the numerical sufficiency of the enrollees. After all, the review center was still a business venture that required, for its guaranteed success, enrollees as the source of its income. Most of all, he would have likewise been duty-bound to uphold the GRC’s interests above all. He could not have upheld the interest of either the BCU’s or the GRC’s, above all, without sacrificing the interest of the other.

Last, Gallente appropriated for his and the GRC’s benefit the BCU’s property when he did not secure prior authority in using the BCU as the GRC’s primary address in the AOI and in posting the GRC’s streamer advertisement outside the BCU’s main gate. What is worse, by these acts, Gallente represented to the public that the GRC is a BCU-sponsored venture, which clearly it was not. In our view, these acts showed dishonesty and negates Gallente’s claim of good faith. While Gallente maintains that he properly secured prior authority, yet he fatally failed to substantiate this allegation.

We find that Gallente’s acts rendered him unworthy of the BCU’s trust and confidence.

Hence, we find the BCU’s termination of his employment reasonable and appropriate, and a valid exercise of management prerogative. An employer may not be compelled to continue in its employ a person whose continuance in the service would patently be inimical to its interests. (Baguio Central University vs. Ignacio Gallente, G.R. No. 188267, Dec. 2, 2013).

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on August 30, 2014.

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