SC Affirms NLRC Contempt Powers
In a February 2012 decision, the Supreme Court stressed that under Article 218 of the Labor Code, the NLRC (and the labor arbiters) may hold any offending party in contempt, directly or indirectly, and impose appropriate penalties in accordance with law. The penalty for direct contempt consists of either imprisonment or fine, the degree or amount depends on whether the contempt is against the Commission or the labor arbiter. The Labor Code, however, requires the labor arbiter or the Commission to deal with indirect contempt in the manner prescribed under Rule 71 of the Rules of Court.
Rule 71 of the Rules of Court does not require the labor arbiter or the NLRC to initiate indirect contempt proceedings before the trial court. This mode is to be observed only when there is no law granting them contempt powers. As is clear under Article 218(d) of the Labor Code, the labor arbiter or the Commission is empowered or has jurisdiction to hold the offending party or parties in direct or indirect contempt. The petitioners in this case, however, have not improperly brought the indirect contempt charges against the respondents before the NLRC.(Robosa, et. al. vs. NLRC, G.R. No. 176085, February 8, 2012)
Research, Information and Publications Division
National Labor Relations Commission