HOUSE committee on labor chair and Davao City Representative Karlo B. Nograles has filed House Bill (HB) 4529 that seeks to lessen the burden of workers in making appeals on labor cases.

HB 4529, authored by Nograles, will directly bring appealed labor decisions from the National Labor Relations Commission (NLRC) directly to the Supreme Court (SC), skipping the Court of Appeals (CA).

Nograles, speaking in his television program Kalamboan Dala Tanan, said workers will be spared of up to two months of waiting for labor cases to be resolved. It will also save litigants of the usual labor costs when cases pass through the CA.

Nograles noted that most labor cases in the CA are brought to the SC for final resolution.

"If the intention is to eventually bring the case to the Supreme Court, then it will be practical to bring the case directly to the High Court without passing through the CA," he said.

Labor cases under the Nograles bill cuts the levels of appeals to two levels (NLRC to SC), instead of 3 (NLRC to CA to SC).

Nograles argued that the 1987 Constitution guarantees the speedy disposition of cases before all judicial, quasi-judicial or administrative bodies but the country’s judicial system’s redundant check-and-balance mechanism has allowed legal manipulations to delay the delivery of justice.

Nograles said that such legal manipulations defeat the purpose of the various reforms being implemented by the Department of Labor such as the Single-Entry Approach (SEnA) and Project Speedy and Efficient Delivery of Labor Justice (SpeED) purposely to speed up the disposition of labor disputes.

"With the present set-up of three stages/levels of appeal/review of labor cases, the mandate of providing speedy labor justice will still be negated particularly for lowly workers who could not afford a protracted, costly and frustrating litigation before another level of appellate body. This additional layer of appeal affects the whole workforce in the country, including the overseas contract workers, agricultural workers and domestic helpers," Nograles said.