Almirante: Effect of failure to appeal

ON Aug. 8, 2011, Emma B. Concepcion and Edwin J. Babiano filed a complaint for non-payment of commissions and damages against Century Properties Inc. (CPI).

In a decision dated March 19, 2012, the Labor Arbiter (LA) ruled in favor of CPI and dismissed the complaint for lack of merit.

The National Labor Relations Commission (NLRC) reversed and set aside the LA ruling, and entered a new one ordering CPI to pay Concepcion the amount of P470,754.62 representing her commission from Aug. 9, 2008 to Aug. 8, 2011, as well as 10 percent attorney’s fees.

Concepcion did not assail the NLRC findings. Only CPI moved for reconsideration, which the NLRC denied. CPI filed a petition for certiorari before the Court of Appeals (CA) which affirmed the NLRC ruling with modification, increasing the award of unpaid commission to Concepcion in the amount of P591,953.05 and imposing interest of six percent per annum on all monetary awards from the finality of its decision until fully paid. CPI filed a motion for reconsideration which the CA denied.

CPI asserts that the failure of Concepcion to assail the NLRC award of P470,754.62 renders the finding final upon her. Does this argument find merit?

Ruling: No.

As a general rule, a party who has not appealed cannot obtain any affirmative relief other than the one granted in the appealed decision. However, jurisprudence admits an exception to the said rule, such as when strict adherence thereto shall result in the impairment of the substantive rights of the parties concerned. In Global Resource for Outsourced Workers, Inc. v. Velasco, 693 Phil 158, 168 (2012):

“Indeed, a party who has failed to appeal from a judgment is deemed to have acquiesced to it and can no longer obtain from the appellate court any affirmative relief other than what was already granted under said judgment. However, when strict adherence to such technical rule will impair a substantive right, such as that of an illegally dismissed employee to monetary compensation as provided by law, then equity dictates that the Court set aside the rule to pave the way for a full and just adjudication of the case.”

In the present case, the CA aptly pointed out that the NLRC failed to account for all the unpaid commissions due to Concepcion for the period of Aug. 9, 2008 to Aug. 8, 2011. Indeed, Concepcion’s right to her earned commissions is a substantive right, which cannot be impaired by an erroneous computation of what she really is entitled to.

Hence, following the dictates of equity and in order to arrive at a complete and just resolution of the case, and avoid a piecemeal dispensation of justice over the same, the CA correctly recomputed Concepcion’s unpaid commissions, notwithstanding her failure to seek a review of the NLRC’s computation of the same.

x x x CPI remains liable for the unpaid commissions of Concepcion in the sum of P591,953.05. (Perlas-Bernabe, J.; SC 1st Division, Century Properties, Inc. vs. Edwin J. Babiano, et. al., G.R. No. 220978, July 5, 2016).
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