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Friday, August 23, 2019

Almirante: Involuntary resignation

ON March 1, 2011, Frederick Pios, VP for corporate affairs of respondent Philippine Nautical Training College (PNTC), called petitioner Flordaliza Llanes Grande for a meeting.

Pios relayed to her the message of the PNTC president for her to tender a resignation from the school in view of the discovery of anomalies in the registration department that reportedly involved her. Pios assured petitioner of absolution from the alleged anomalies if she would resign.

Petitioner then prepared a resignation letter, signed it and filed it with the office of the PNTC president. The respondent accomplished for her the necessary exit clearance.

In the evening of the same date, petitioner, accompanied by counsel, filed a police blotter for a complaint for unjust vexation against Pios. She alleged that Pios forced her to file a resignation and in turn assured her of absolution from unfounded anomalies.

The next day, March 2, 2011, petitioner accompanied again by counsel, filed a complaint for illegal dismissal against respondent PNTC with prayer for reinstatement and money claims. She alleged she was forced to resign while respondent claimed that she voluntarily resigned to evade the pending administrative charge against her.

Which position is more tenable?

Ruling: That of petitioner

Resignation is the voluntary act of an employee who is in a situation where one believes that personal reasons cannot be sacrificed in favor of the exigency of the service, and has no other choice but to dissociate from employment.

Resignation is a formal pronouncement or relinquishment of an office, and must be made with the intention of relinquishing the office accompanied by the act of relinquishment. A resignation must be unconditional and with the intent to operate as such.

In voluntary resignation, the employee is compelled by personal reason(s) to disassociate himself from employment. It is done with the intention of relinquishing an office, accompanied by the act of abandonment. To determine whether the employee indeed intended to relinquish such employment, the act of the employee before and after the alleged resignation must be considered.

We concur with the findings of the NLRC that the acts of petitioner before and after she tendered her resignation would show that undue force was exerted upon petitioner: (1) the resignation letter of petitioner was terse and curt, giving the impression that it was hurriedly and grudgingly written; (2) she was in the thick of preparation for an upcoming visit and inspection from the Maritime Training Council; it was also around that time that she had just requested for the acquisition of textbooks and teaching aids, a fact which is incongruent with her sudden resignation from work; (3) in the evening, she filed an incident report/police blotter before the Intramuros Police Station; and (4) the following day she filed a complaint for illegal dismissal.

In order to withstand the test of validity, resignations must be made voluntarily and with the intention of relinquishing the office, coupled with an act of relinquishment. Therefore, in order to determine whether the employees truly intended to resign from their respective posts, we must take into consideration the totality of circumstances in each particular case.

x x x

Petitioner’s intention to leave the school, as well as her act of relinquishment, is not present in the instant case. On the contrary, she vigorously pursued her complaint against respondent. It is a clear manifestation that she had no intention of relinquishing her employment. The element of voluntariness in petitioner’s resignation is, therefore, missing.

By vigorously pursuing the litigation of her action against respondent, petitioner clearly manifested that she has no intention of relinquishing her employment, which act is wholly incompatible to respondent’s assertion that she voluntarily resigned. (Peralta, J., SC 2nd Division, Flordaliza Llanes Grande vs. Philippine Nautical Training College, G.R. No. 213137, March 1, 2017).
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