PETITIONER Ting Trucking is owned and operated by Mary Violaine A. Ting and is engaged in hauling services.

On Feb. 12, 2010, it hired respondent John C. Makilan as a driver.

Respondent claimed that on Aug. 20, 2010 while he was on his way to work, he received a call from petitioner informing him to stop reporting for work purportedly to avoid his regularization, prompting him to file a complaint for illegal dismissal against petitioner.

On the other hand, petitioner alleged that respondent was already a regular employee. However, he abused the trust and confidence reposed on him.

According to the reports of his assigned helper, Genesis O. Chavez, he committed several anomalies like pocketing a portion of the gas allowance, taking home 20 kilos of corn, siphoning supplied gasoline, and taking spare parts of the truck. Can the complaint of respondent prosper?

Ruling: No.

Misconduct is defined as an improper or wrong conduct. It is a transgression of some established and definite rule of action, a forbidden act, a dereliction of duty, willful in character, and implies wrongful intent and not mere error in judgment.

To constitute a valid cause for the dismissal within the text and meaning of Article 297 of the Labor Code, the employee’s misconduct must be serious -that is, of such grave and aggravated character and not merely trivial or unimportant. Additionally, the misconduct must be related to the performance of the employee’s duties showing him to be unfit to continue working for the employer. Further, the act or conduct must have been performed with wrongful intent.

Thus, for serious misconduct to be a just cause for dismissal, the concurrence of the following elements is required: (a) the misconduct must be serious; (b) it must relate to the performance of the employee’s duties showing that the employee has become unfit to continue working for the employer; and (c) it must have been performed with wrongful intent.

In the case at bar, all of the foregoing requisites have been duly established by substantial evidence. Records disclose that respondent was charged of misappropriating fuel allowance, theft of fuel and corn, and sale of spare parts while in the performance of his duties. Submitted as proof was the affidavit of Chavez, among others.

Contrary to the findings of the CA, the Court finds the same to be substantial evidence. Other than respondent’s claim that the charges were fabricated and that Chavez was a biased witness, no evidence was presented that would taint the latter’s credibility. In fact, it was not shown that Chavez was impelled by dubious or ill-motive to testify falsely against respondent; hence, his testimony should be accorded full faith and credence.

x x x

Indeed, it bears stressing that while there may be no direct evidence to prove that respondent actually committed the offenses charged, there was substantial proof of the existence of the irregularities committed by him. It is well to point out that substantial proof, and not clear and convincing evidence or proof beyond reasonable doubt, is sufficient as basis for the imposition of any disciplinary action upon the employee. The standard of substantial evidence is satisfied where the employer has reasonable ground to believe that the employee is responsible for the misconduct and his participation therein renders him unworthy of the trust and confidence demanded by his position, as in this case. (Perlas-Bernabe, J; SC 1st Div., Ting Trucking, et. al. vs. John C. Makilan, G.R. No. 216452, June 20, 2016).

(Almirante is a former labor arbiter)