Dominador A. Almirante

Labor case digest

PETITIONER Gloria Gomez served as a corporate secretary of respondent PNOC Development Management Corporation (PDMC).

Its president re-hired her as administrator and legal counsel for the company. PDMC credited her years of service with Filoil Development Management Corporation (FDMC), its predecessor.

In a case for illegal dismissal, petitioner conceded that as private secretary, she served only as a corporate officer but as an administrator she became a regular managerial employee.

For the purpose of determining which agency has jurisdiction over the case, did her contention prosper?

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Ruling. Yes.

But the relationship of a person to a corporation, whether as officer or agent or employee, is not determined by the nature of the services he or she performs but by the incidents of his or her relationship with the corporation as it actually exists.

Here, respondent PDMC hired petitioner Gomez as an ordinary employee without board approval as was proper for a corporate officer. When the company got her the first time, it agreed to have her retain the managerial rank that she held with Petron.

Her appointment paper said that she would be entitled to all the rights, privileges, and benefits that regular PDMC employees enjoyed. This is in sharp contrast to what the former PDMC president’s appointment paper stated: he was elected to the position and his compensation depended on the will of the board of directors.

That petitioner Gomez served concurrently as corporate secretary for a time is immaterial. A corporation is not prohibited from hiring a corporate officer to perform services under circumstances which will make him an employee.

Indeed, it is possible for one to have a dual role of officer and employee. In Elleccion Vda. De Lecciones v. National Labor Relations Commission, the Court upheld NLRC jurisdiction over a complaint filed by one who served both as corporate secretary and administrator, finding that the money claims were made as an employee and not as a corporate officer (Gloria V. Gomez vs. PNOC Development and Management Corporation (PDMC), G.R. No. 174044, November 27, 2009).