Dominador Almirante

Labor case digest

IN JANUARY 1975, respondent Rogelio Aman was hired by petitioner Metro Construction Inc. (Metro), starting as a laborer. He was gradually promoted and later, became foreman, which was his last position.

On July 19, 2001, Metro sent a letter informing him that it would temporarily terminate his services because of completed projects, lack of work and continuous financial losses. He was assured, however, that Metro would contract him if ever there were new projects.

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On July 24, 2001, five days after his receipt of his temporary termination, Metro sent a letter informing him of the prospective project it would undertake in a few months’ time.

Earlier, on July 6, 2001, Aman had filed a complaint against Metro, alleging that he was illegally dismissed on May 15, 2001.

Did the complaint prosper?

Ruling: Yes.

Even if these two letters could be viewed as truly reflective of their contents, they lack evidentiary value.

First, in the letter dated June 16, 2001, the reasons cited by Metro for Aman’s temporary layoff are the following: completed projects, lack of work and continuous financial losses.

However, apart from the said letter, Metro did not present any evidence to show that all their projects had already been completed, that there is no more work available for Aman, and that Metro is suffering from continuous financial losses.

Second, the said letter dated June 16, 2001 was sent to Aman only on July 19, 2001, after the complaint for illegal dismissal was filed on July 6, 2001. This is clearly a mere afterthought on the part of Metro to give a semblance of validity to the illegal dismissal which transpired much earlier in May 2001.

We are inclined to favor Aman’s version that he was illegally dismissed on May 15, 2001. Considering that Aman has been in the employ of Metro since 1975 or for a period of 26 years, coupled with the fact that it is his only source of income and that he has a family to support, it is very unlikely, that during these very difficult times Aman would just leave his job, if he was not unceremoniously dismissed by Metro and Dr. Lai. (Metro Construction Inc. and Dr. John Lai vs. Rogelio Aman, G.R. 168324, Oct. 12, 2009, quoting with approval the ruling of the Court of Appeals).