SC Finds No Grave Abuse of Discretion on Writ of Execution Issued by NLRC for Security Guard
In a June 2012 decision, the Supreme Court affirms the decision of the NLRC relative to reinstatement and payment of monetary benefits.
“We do not see any grave abuse of discretion after a close examination of the petition and the attached records where 3rd Alert insists that a copy of the manifestation on reinstatement had been sent to the security guard’s counsel”, the Supreme Court said.
“In the absence of any attendant grave abuse of discretion, these findings are entitled not only to respect, but to our final recognition in this appellate review. Since it was ruled that there had been no notice of reinstatement sent to the security guard or his counsel, as also affirmed by the CA, we cannot rule otherwise in the absence of any compelling evidence,” the Supreme Court stressed.
This case started from an illegal dismissal complaint filed by a security guard against 3rd Alert.
The labor arbiter issued a decision that the security guard’s dismissal was illegal. 3rd Alert appealed to the NLRC which affirmed the ruling of the labor arbiter. On appeal, the CA denied the petition.
In the meantime, the NLRC issued an Entry of Judgment certifying that the NLRC resolution has become final and executory. Thus, the security guard filed with the labor arbiter an ex-parte motion for recomputation of back wages and an ex-parte motion for execution based on the recomputed back wages.
The labor arbiter then issued a writ of execution to enforce the recomputed monetary awards.
3rd Alert appealed the recomputed amount stated in the writ of execution to the NLRC and alleged that the writ was issued with grave abuse of discretion since there was already a notice of reinstatement sent to the security guard.
The NLRC dismissed the appeal, ruling that 3rd Alert is guilty of bad faith since there was no earnest effort to reinstate the security guard. The NLRC also ruled that there was no notice or reinstatement sent to security guard’s counsel.
3rd Alert filed a petition for certiorari with the CA which found the petition without merit because the security guard had not been reinstated either physically or in the payroll.
Article 223 of the Labor Code provides that in case there is an order of reinstatement, the employer must admit the dismissed employee under the same terms and conditions, or merely reinstate the employee in the payroll. The order shall be immediately executory. Thus, 3rd Alert cannot escape liability by simply invoking that the security guard did not report for work. The law states that the employer must still reinstate the employee in the payroll. Where reinstatement is no longer viable as an option, separation pay equivalent to one (1) month salary for every year of service could be awarded as an alternative.
Since the proceedings below indicate that 3rd Alert failed to adduce additional evidence to show that it tried to reinstate the security guard, either physically or in the payroll, we adopt as correct the finding that there was no earnest effort to reinstate the security guard. The CA was correct in affirming the judgment of the NLRC in this regard.
“The 3rd Alert resorted to legal tactics to frustrate the execution of the labor arbiter’s order; for about four (4) years, it evaded the obligation to reinstate the security guard. By so doing, 3rd Alert has made a mockery of justice,” the Supreme Court said. (3rd Alert Security and Detective Services, Inc. vs. Navia, G.R. No. 200653, June 13, 2012)
Research, Information and Publications Division
National Labor Relations Commission