PANUNCILLO was terminated by CAP Philippines for Estafa. She filed a case for illegal termination before the arbitration branch of the NLRC. The Labor Arbiter found that dismissal was for a valid cause. However, the NLRC reversed the Labor Arbiter and ordered reinstatement to the former position. The Court of Appeals reversed the NLRC and hence, the Supreme Court petition for review on certiorari.

The procedural issue in this case is whether or not Panuncillo is entitled to the payment of backwages from the time that the NLRC ordered reinstatement until the NLRC's reversal by the Court of Appeals?

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The Supreme Court held that, unlike the order for reinstatement of a Labor Arbiter which is self-executory, an order of reinstatement by the NLRC on appeal is not. There is still a need for the issuance of a writ of execution. Thus, if a Labor Arbiter does not issue a writ of execution of the NLRC order for the reinstatement of an employee even if there is no restraining order, he could probably be merely observing judicial courtesy, xxx and in such a case, it is as if a temporary restraining order was issued.

It does not appear that a writ of execution was issued for the implementation of the NLRC order for reinstatement. Had one been issued, CAP would have been obliged to reinstate Panuncillo and pay her salary until the said order of the NLRC for her reinstatement was reversed by the Court of Appeals, and following Roquero, Panuncillo would not have been obliged to reimburse CAP for whatever salary she received in the interim.

Since this Court is now affirming the challenged decision of the Court of Appeals finding that Panuncillo was validly dismissed and accordingly reversing the NLRC Decision that Panuncillo was illegally dismissed and should be reinstated, Panuncillo is not entitled to collect any backwages from the time the NLRC decision became final and executory up to the time the Court of Appeals reversed said decision.

(Panuncillo vs. CAP Philippines,

515 SCRA 323 [2007].)