THE last position that respondent Arturo Lado held in petitioner Bibiana Farms and Mills, Inc. was warehouseman with the task of, among others, empty sacks classifier and controller.

A customer, Mildred Manzo, originally ordered 68 bundles but later decided to pay for only 60 or 3,000 pieces of sacks. Lado failed to unload from the customer’s truck the excess of eight bundles. He was dismissed from the service for serious misconduct, dishonesty, fraud and willful breach of trust and confidence. Was the dismissal justified?

Updates on President Benigno Aquino III's presidency

Ruling: Yes.

After considering the parties’ submission, we are convinced that Lado’s acts, which almost led to the loss of 400 empty sacks, constituted not only a violation of company rules and regulations but also a serious infraction resulting in his employer’s loss of trust and confidence on him. His act of loading 68 bundles of empty sacks, despite the authority to deliver only 60 bundles, was not just in anticipation of the possible purchase by Manzo of the entire lot of empty sacks, as the CA opined, it was part of a scheme to transport the entire lot, a part of which was unpaid, out of company premises.

This is the only conclusion that we can draw when Lado had all the 68 bundles loaded into the truck after Manzo presented to him Manalo’s note clearly stating “3,000 mix-mix.” This note clearly indicated that Manzo and Manalo agreed that the former was only buying 3,000 pieces of empty sacks. Yet, Lado disregarded this note on the justification that Manzo expressed the desire to purchase the entire lot shown to her.

Lado, in fact, was subsequently presented with the receipt and gate pass for only 3,000 empty sacks, yet again failed to act on this clear evidence of the purchase and the overloading that he had made.

On the assumption that Manzo indeed expressed the desire to purchase all of the 68 bundles, Lado should have asked Manzo to go back to Manalo to have the purchase transaction adjusted and to secure a receipt and gate pass from Manalo, expressly indicating that she paid for the 68 bundles of empty sacks.

Despite the absence of any clearance or instructions from Manalo, Lado had the 68 bundles loaded. Subsequently, despite the receipt and gate pass for only 60 bundles, Lado failed to ensure that the excess were unloaded. At the very least, this is negligence and mishandling of the grossest kind of property under his care (Bibiana Farms and Mills, Inc. vs. Arturo Lado, G.R. No. 157861, Feb. 2, 2010).