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L-45475

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RepublicofthePhilippines
SUPREMECOURT
Manila

SECONDDIVISION

G.R.No.L45475June20,1977

KAPISANANNGMGAMANGGAGAWASALASUERTEFOITAF,petitioner,
vs.
THEHONORABLECARMELOC.NORIEL,inhiscapacityasDirectoroftheBureauofLaborRelations,All
officersactinginhisbehalfandFEDERACIONOFFREEWORKERS(FFWLASUERTECHAPTER),
respondents.

JoseT.Maghariforpetitioner.

RomeoP.Torresforprivaterespondent.

ActingSolicitorGeneralVicenteV.MendozaforrespondentDirector,etc.

FERNANDO,J.:

ItisnowsettledrulethatunderthepresentLaborCode,1iflackofpowerorarbitraryorimprovidentexerciseofauthority
beshown,thusgivingrisetoajurisdictionalquestion,thisCourtmay,inappropriatecertiorariproceedings,passuponthe
validity of the decisions reached by officials or administrative agencies in labor controversies. So it was assumed in
Maglasang v. Ople. 2 It was explicitly announced in San Miguel Corporation v. Secretary of Labor, 3 the opinion being
pennedbyJusticeAquino.Accordingly,casesofthatcharactercontinuetofindaplaceinourdocket.4Thepresentsuitisof
that category. Petitioner labor union would impugn the holding of a certification election ordered by respondent Director of
Bureau of Labor Relations, Carmelo C. Noriel,5 it being alleged that there was a failure to comply with the thirty percent
requirementinthepetitionforcertificationandthatitwasfiledafterthesixtydayperiodprovidedforbylaw.Inthecomment
ofActingSolicitorGeneralVicenteV.Mendoza,treatedastheanswer,itwaspointedoutthatthefirstobjectionwasfactual,
the determination by respondent Noriel being entitled to respect and that the other was not supported by a reasonable
interpretationofthesixtydayperiodbeingundulyrestrictiveandfailingtocarryoutitsbasicpurpose.Theweaknessofthe
petitionisthusapparent.certioraridoesnotlie.Thecertificationelectionmustbeheld.

Thefactsareundisputed.OnFebruary6,1976,privaterespondentFederationofFreeWorkers,LaSuerteChapter,
filedapetitionforcertificationelectionallegingthatoutofabargainingunitofmoreorless3,500,therewere1,068
signatories. The previous certified collective bargaining agreement between the employer La Suerte Cigar and
Cigarette Factory and petitioner labor union terminated on December 5, 1975. There was, eleven days later, a
motion to intervene filed by petitioner followed on March 1, 1976 by a motion to dismiss on the ground that
respondentUnionhadnotcompliedwiththethirtypercentconsentrequirementandthatthepetitionforcertification
wasfiledbeyondthesixtydayperiodtotheexpirationofthecollectivebargainingcontract.Whenafewdayslater
theemployersubmittedalistoftherankandfileemployeesnumbering4,055,privaterespondentcounteredwithan
additional list of signatories, 331 in number, making a total of 1,399 signatories. Private respondent thereafter
opposedthemotiontodismiss,statingthattherewascomplianceWiththethirtypercentconsentrequirementand
that the filing was within the period allowed by law. On April 6, 1976, MedArbiter Eusebio M. Jimenez issued an
orderdenyingthemotiontodismissandgrantingthepetitionforcertificationelectionfiledbyprivaterespondent,the
choicebeingbetweenpetitionerandrespondentunions,withemployeeslikewisebeinggiventheopportunitytovote
for"NoUnion."AnappealwastakentorespondentNorielasDirectoroftheBureauofLaborRelations.Thencame
on October 23, 1976 an order from him, the dispositive portion of which is to the effect that the appeal was
denied.Amotionforreconsiderationhavingprovedfutile,thispetitionforcertiorariwasfiled.

Asstatedattheoutset,thereisnoshowingofarbitraryorimprovidentexerciseofauthoritytojustifygrantingthewrit
ofcertiorari.Thepetitionmustbedismissed

1.ThepresentLaborCode,astheformerindustrialPeaceAct,rightfullystressestheimportanceofacertification
electiontoascertainwhichlaborunionshouldbethecollectivebargainingagentandthusassurethesuccessofthe
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collectivebargainingprocedure.ThisexcerptfromtherecentcaseofPhilippineAssociationofFreeLaborUnionsv.
Bureau of Labor Relations 6 finds pertinence: "Petitioner thus appears to be woefully lacking in awareness of the
significance of a certification election for the collective bargaining process. It is the fairest and most effective way of
determiningwhichlabororganizationcantrulyrepresenttheworkingforce.ItisafundamentalPostulatethatthewillofthe
majority,ifgivenexpressioninanhonestelectionwithfreedomonthepartofthevoterstomaketheirchoice,iscontrolling.
Nobetterdevicecanassuretheinstitutionofindustrialdemocracywiththetwopartiestoabusinessenterprise,management
and labor, establishing a regime of selfrule. As was pointed out by Chief Justice Castro in Rivera v. San Miguel Brewery
Corporation,Inc.,'acollectivebargainingagreementisthelawoftheplant.,Tothesameeffectisthisexplicitpronouncement
inMactanWorkersUnionv.Aboitiz:'Thetermsandconditionsofacollectivebargainingcontractconstitutethelawbetween
theparties.'Whatcouldbeaptlystressedthen,aswasdoneinCompaniaMaritimav.CompaniaMaritimaLaborUnion,is
'theprimacytowhichthedecisionreachedbytheemployeesthemselvesisentitled.'Further,itwasthereinstated:'Thatisin
the soundest tradition of industrial democracy. For collective bargaining implies that instead of a unilateral imposition by
management,thetermsandconditionsofemploymentshouldbethesubjectofnegotiationbetweenitandlabor.Thusthe
twopartiesindispensabletotheeconomyaresupposedtotakecareoftheirrespectiveinterests.Moreover,theverynotionof
industrial selfrule negates the assumption that what is good for either party should be left to the will of the other. On the
contrary,thereisanawarenessthatlaborcanbetrustedtopromoteitswelfarethroughthebargainingprocess.Toitthen
mustbeleftthechoiceofitsagentforsuchpurpose.'...Thereis,itwouldappear,adecidedlyunsympatheticapproachby
petitionertotheinstitutionofcollectivebargainingatwarwithwhathassooftenandsoconsistentlydecidedbythisTribunal.
7TheaboveprinciplehasbeenadheredtoinsubsequentdecisionsofthisCourt.8

2.The objection of petitioner as to the alleged lack of the thirty percent requirement in the number of signatories
accordingtothepresentLaborCodeiswithoutmerit. 9Privaterespondent,asnotedinthecomment,"filedthepetition
forcertificationsupportedby1,068signatoriesoftheemployeesoftheemployerormorethan30%ofthe3,500rankandfile
employees of the employer. After the petition was filed, the employer however submitted a list of its regular rank and file
employeeswithatotalnumberof4,055.Privaterespondent,inordertocomplywiththe30%consentrequirement,submitted
an additional list of 331 rank and file employees. Thus, the signatories totalled 1,399 or more than 30% of the 4,055
employees." 10 Even if, as contended by petitioner, there were among the signatories submitted 105 falsified or double
entries and 7 came from those not qualified to vote or a total of 112, that would still leave 1,287 signatories or more than
thirtypercentofthe4,055employees.11Thematteristhusessentiallyfactualincharacter,thedeterminationbyrespondent
Norielbeingentitledtorespect.12

3.Anyrate,asagainnotedinthecomment,petitionerdidmissthepointthatsucharequirementofthirtypercentof
all the employees in the bargaining unit is relevant only when it becomes mandatory for respondent Noriel to
conduct a certification election. So Article 258 explicitly provides. Petitioner ignored that respondent Noriel is
likewise possessed of discretionary power whether or not a certification election should be held. In such a case,
thereisnosuchthirtypercentrequirement.SoitwasheldintheabovePhilippineAssociationofFreeLaborUnions
decision.Thus:"Petitionerwouldminimizeitsfailuretoabidebywhatissettledlawbyinvokingthisprovisioninthe
NewLaborCode:'Anypetitionforcertificationelectionfiledbyanylegitimatelabororganizationshallbesupported
bythewrittenconsentofatleast30%ofalltheemployeesinthebargainingunit.Uponreceiptandverificationof
suchpetition,itshallbemandatoryfortheBureautoconductacertificationelectionforthepurposeofdetermining
the representative of the employees in the appropriate bargaining unit and certify the winner as the exclusive
collective bargaining representative of all the employees in the unit.' It cannot change the outcome. It does not
sufficetoimpressthepetitionwithmerit,...Petitioner'scontentiontotheeffectthatthe30%requirementshouldbe
satisfiedsuffersfromanevengraverflaw.Iffailstodistinguishbetweentherightofalabororganizationtobeableto
persuade30%ofthelaborforcetopetitionforacertificationelection,inwhichcagerespondentBureauisleftwith
nochoicebuttoorderit,andthepowerofsuchgovernmentalagencypreciselyentrustedwithimplementationofthe
collective bargaining process to determine, considering the likelihood that there may be several unions within a
bargaining unit, to order such an election precisely for the purpose of ascertaining which of them shall be the
exclusivecollectivebargainingrepresentative.ThedecisionofrespondentBureauofApril14,1975wasintendedfor
thatpurpose.Toreiterateathoughtalreadyexpressed,whatcouldbemoreappropriatethansuchaprocedureifthe
goal desired is to enable 'labor to determine which of the competing organizations should represent it for the
purposeofacollectivebargainingcontract?13

4.NorwasthereanyimprovidentorarbitraryexerciseofauthoritywhenrespondentNorielorderedthecertification
electionafterthelapseofthesixtydayperiodprovidedforbylaw.Thelawcannotbeanyclearer.Itarguesagainst
thepretensionofpetitioner.AccordingtotheLaborCode:"Nocertificationelectionissueshallbeentertainedbythe
Bureau in any collective bargaining unit if a collective bargaining agreement exists between the employer and a
legitimatelabororganization,exceptwithinsixty(60)dayspriortotheexpirationofthelifeofsuchcertifiedcollective
bargainingagreement.14Noothermeaningcanbeattachedtosuchprovision,asappliedtothepresentsituation,
exceptthattheformercollectivebargainingagreementhavingexpiredonDecember5,1975,sixtydayspriortothat
date, a petition for certification election could have been filed. It does not mean that after December 5, 1975, no
such petition could be entertained by respondent Noriel, provided there was no certified collective bargaining
agreementthathadtakenitsplace.Itisundisputedthatnosubsequentcertifiedcollectivecontractwasinexistence
at the time the petition for holding the certification election was filed by respondent union on February 6, 1976,
Therewasnolegalbarthentosuchamove.Moreover,therestrictiveinterpretationsoughttobefastenedonsucha
provision by petitioner would set at naught the basic objective of the Labor Code to institute a true system of
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industrialdemocracy,throughthecollectivebargainingprocesswiththerepresentativeoflaborchosenafterafree
andhonestcertificationelection.ThisCourtthenisnotpreparedtoacceptthetheoryofpetitioner,whichisnotonly
unsoundintheorybutperniciousinitsconsequences.

WHEREFORE,thepetitionforcertiorariisdismissed.RespondentNorielisdirectedtosetthedatefortheholdingof
thecertificationelection.Thisdecisionisimmediatelyexecutory.

Barredo,Antonio,AquinoandFernandez,JJ.,concur.

ConcepcionJr.,J.,isonleave,

Footnotes

1PresidentialDecreeNo442,asamended(1974).

2L38813,April29,1975,63SCRA508.

3L39195,May16,1975,64SCRA56.

4CfUnitedEmployeesUnionofGelmartindustriesv.Noriel,L40810,Oct.3,1975,67SCRA267
Scottv.Inciong,L38868,Dec.29,1975,68SCRA473PhilippineAssociationofFreeLaborUnionsv.
BureauofLaborRelations,L42115,Jan.27,1976,69SCRA132MafincoTradingCorporationv.
Ople,L37790,March25,1976,70SCRA139PhilippineLaborAllianceCouncilv.California
EmployeesLaborUnion,L42155,May31,1976,71SCRA214FederacionObrerav.Noriel,L41937,
July6,1976,72SCRA24FoamtexLaborUnionv.Noriel,L42359,Aug.17,1976,72SCRA371
PhilippineAssociationofFreelaborUnionsv.BureauofLaborRelations,L43760,Aug.21,1976,72
SCRA396StationDYRHv.Noriel,L43731,Oct.5,1976,73SCRA330U.E.AutomotiveEmployees
v.Noriel,L44350,Nov.25,1976PhilippineLaborAlliancev.BureauofLaborRelations,L41288,Jan.
31,1977Today'sKnittingFreeWorkersUnionv.Noriel,L45057,Feb.28,1977BenguetExploration
MinersUnionv.Noriel,L44110,March29,1977.

5TheprivaterespondentisFederationofFreeWorkers(FFWLaSuerteChapter).

6L42115,January27,1976,69SCRA132.

7Ibid,139140.Rivera,L26197,July20,1968,isreportedin24SCRA86MactanWorkersUnion,L
30241,June30,1972,in45SCRA577CompaniaMaritima,L29504,Feb.29,1972,in43SCRA464.
ReferencewasmadetofourteencasesstartingfromPLDTEmployeesUnionv.PLDTCo.,97Phil.424
(1955)toPhil.CommunicationsWorkersFederationv.CourtofIndustrialRelations,L34531,March
29,1974,56SCRA480.

8Cf.FederacionObrerav.Noriel,L41937,July6,1976,72SCRA24U.E.AutomotiveEmployees
andWorkersUnionTradeUnionsofthePhilippinesandAlliedServicesv.Noriel,L44350,Nov.27,
1976PhilippineLaborAllianceCouncilv.BureauofLaborRelations,L41288,Jan.31,1977Today's
KnittingFreeWorkersUnionv.Noriel,L45057,Feb.28,1977BenguetExplorationMiners'Unionv.
Noriel,L44110,March29,1977.

9Article258oftheLaborCodereadsasfollows:"Requisitesforcertificationelection.Anypetition
forcertificationelectionfiledbyanylegitimatelabororganizationshallbesupportedbythewritten
consentofatleastthirtypercent(30%)ofalltheemployeesinthebargainingunit.Uponreceiptand
verificationofsuchpetition,itshallbemandatoryfortheBureautoconductacertificationelectionfor
thepurposeofdeterminingtherepresentativeoftheemployeesintheappropriatebargainingunitand
certifythewinnerastheexclusivecollectivebargainingrepresentativeofalltheemployeesintheunit.

10CommentofActingSolicitorGeneralVicenteV.Mendoza,67.

11Cf.Ibid,7.

12Cf.AntipoloHighwayLinesv.Inciong,L38523,June27,1975,64SCRA441JacquelineIndustries
v.NationalLaborRelationsCommission,L37034,Aug.29,1975,66SCRA397FederacionObrerav.
Noriel,L41937,July1976,72SCRA24.

1369SCRA132.140141.

14Article257oftheLaborCode,2ndpar.

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