Thursday, October 12, 2017

NORMA DEL SOCORRO V. WILSEM CASE DIGEST - CIVIL LAW

DEL SOCORRO VS. WILSEM                                                 G.R. No. 193707 December 10, 2014

FACTS:

Norma A. Del Socorro and Ernst Van Wilsem contracted marriage in Holland. They were blessed with a son named Roderigo Norjo Van Wilsem. Unfortunately, their marriage bond ended by virtue of a Divorce Decree issued by the appropriate Court of Holland. Thereafter, Norma and her son came home to the Philippines. According to Norma, Ernst made a promise to provide monthly support to their son. However, since the arrival of petitioner and her son in the Philippines, Ernst never gave support to Roderigo. Respondent remarried again a Filipina and resides again the Philippines particulary in Cebu where the petitioner also resides. Norma filed a complaint against Ernst for violation of R.A. No. 9262 for the latters unjust refusal to support his minor child with petitioner. The trial court dismissed the complaint since the facts charged in the information do not constitute an offense with respect to the accused, he being an alien

ISSUES:

1. Does a foreign national have an obligation to support his minor child under the Philippine law?
2. Whether or not a foreign national can be held criminally liable under R.A. No. 9262 for his unjustified failure to support his minor child.

RULING:

1. YES. While it is true that Respondent Ernst is a citizen of Holland or the Netherlands, we agree with the RTC that he is subject to the laws of his country, not to Philippine law, as to whether he is obliged to give support to his child, as well as the consequences of his failure to do so. This does not, however, mean that Ernst is not obliged to support Normas son altogether. In international law, the party who wants to have a foreign law applied to a dispute or case has the burden of proving the foreign law. In the present case, Ernst hastily concludes that being a national of the Netherlands, he is governed by such laws on the matter of provision of and capacity to support. While Ernst pleaded the laws of the Netherlands in advancing his position that he is not obliged to support his son, he never proved the same. It is incumbent upon Ernst to plead and prove that the national law of the Netherlands does not impose upon the parents the obligation to support their child. Foreign laws do not prove themselves in our jurisdiction and our courts are not authorized to take judicial notice of them. Like any other fact, they must be alleged and proved. Moreover, foreign law should not be applied when its application would work undeniable injustice to the citizens or residents of the forum. To give justice is the most important function of law; hence, a law, or judgment or contract that is obviously unjust negates the fundamental principles of Conflict of Laws. Applying the foregoing, even if the laws of the Netherlands neither enforce a parents obligation to support his child nor penalize the non-compliance therewith, such obligation is still duly enforceable in the Philippines because it would be of great injustice to the child to be denied of financial support when the latter is entitled thereto.

2. YES. The court has jurisdiction over the offense (R.A 9262) because the foreigner is living here in the Philippines and committed the offense here.

VALINO V. ADRIANO CASE DIGEST - CIVIL LAW

VALINO VS. ADRIANO                                                                       G.R. No. 182894   April 22, 2014

FACTS:

Atty. Adriano married Rosario Adriano, herein respondent, on November 15, 1955. The two begot 2 sons, 3 daughters, and adopted one child. Their marriage failed. Thus, the two lived separately. A year later, Atty. Adriano found a new love life, one of his former clients, named Fe Valino, herein petitioner, where they live together as common law partners. Despite such situation, Atty. Adriano continued to provide financial support to Rosario and their children.

The husband died due to acute emphysema, a lung disease. At the time of husband’s death, the first wife and children were having their Christmas vacation in the US. Due to this, the common law wife, Valino, facilitated the funeral of Atty. Adriano. The legal wife requested the common law wife to delay the internment for them to pay their last respect to his dead husband. However,her request was not heeded. They buried Adriano at the mausoleum of the family of Valino at the Manila Memorial Park. Respondents were not able to attend the interment.

The legal family, having been deprived of the last chance to view the remains of Atty. Adriano, filed a suit against the common law wife. In their claim that the deceased did not wished to be buried in Manila Memorial Park.

In her defense, the common law wife countered that she and the deceased were living together for more than 20 years, and claims that she has the better right to make decisions concerning the burial of Atty. Adriano.

RTC dismissed respondents (legal wife) petition. On the ground that it would not serve any useful purpose and so he (Atty. Adriano) should be spared and respected.

CA reversed and set aside the RTC decision and directed Valino to have the remains of Atty. Adriano exhumed at the expense of respondents.

Hence, the common law wife appealed to the SC.

ISSUE:

Who between Rosario and Valino is entitled to the remains of Atty. Adriano.

RULING:

Under the law, the right and duty to make funeral arrangements is the surviving legal wife.
Article 30 provides:

The duty and the right to make arrangements for the funeral of a relative shall be in accordance with the order established for support, under Article 294. In case of descendants of the same degree, or of brothers and sisters, the oldest shall be preferred. In case of ascendants, the paternal shall have a better right. 

Art. 199. Also provides that whenever two or more persons are obliged to give support, the liability shall devolve upon the following persons in the order herein provided:
(1) The spouse;
(2) The descendants in the nearest degree;
(3) The ascendants in the nearest degree; and
(4) The brothers and sisters. (294a)

Further, Article 308 of the Civil Code provides:
No human remains shall be retained, interred, disposed of or exhumed without the consent of the persons mentioned in Articles 294 and 305.

In this connection, Section 1103 of the Revised Administrative Code provides:

Section 1103. Persons charged with the duty of burial. The immediate duty of burying the body of a deceased person, regardless of the ultimate liability for the expense thereof, shall devolve upon the persons herein below specified:

(a) If the deceased was a married man or woman, the duty of the burial shall devolve upon the surviving spouse if he or she possesses sufficient means to pay the necessary expenses.


The fact that she was living separately from her husband and was in the United States when he died has no controlling significance. To say that Rosario had, in effect, waived or renounced, expressly or impliedly, her right and duty to make arrangements for the funeral of her deceased husband is baseless. The right and duty to make funeral arrangements, like any other right, will not be considered as having been waived or renounced, except upon clear and satisfactory proof of conduct indicative of a free and voluntary intent to that end. While there was disaffection between Atty. Adriano and Rosario and their children when he was still alive, the Court also recognizes that human compassion, more often than not, opens the door to mercy and forgiveness once a family member joins his Creator. Notably, it is an undisputed fact that the respondents wasted no time in making frantic pleas to Valino for the delay of the interment for a few days so they could attend the service and view the remains of the deceased. As soon as they came to know about Atty. Adrianos death in the morning of December 19, 1992 (December 20, 1992 in the Philippines), the respondents immediately contacted Valino and the Arlington Memorial Chapel to express their request, but to no avail.

LLORENTE VS. COURT OF APPEALS CASE DIGEST - CIVIL LAW


LLORENTE VS. CA                                                                  G.R. No. 124371 , November 23, 2000

FACTS:

In 1927, Lorenzo Llorente, then a Filipino, was enlisted in the U.S. Navy. In 1937, he and Paula Llorente got married in Camarines Sur. In 1943, Lorenzo became an American citizen.

In 1945, Lorenzo returned to the Philippines for a vacation. He discovered that Paula was already living illicitly with Ceferino Llorente, a brother of Lorenzo and the two even have a son. 

Lorenzo then refused to live with Paula. He also refused to give her monetary support. Eventually, Lorenzo and Paula agreed in writing that Lorenzo shall not criminally charge Paula if the she will agree to waive all monetary support from Lorenzo. Later, Lorenzo returned to the US.

In 1951, Lorenzo filed a divorce proceeding against Paula in California. Paula was represented by an American counsel. The divorce was granted and in 1952, the divorce became final.

Lorenzo returned to the Philippines. In 1958, Lorenzo married Alicia Fortuno. They had three children.

In 1981, Lorenzo executed his last will and testament where he left all his estate to Alicia and their children and left nothing for Paula. In 1983, Lorenzo went to the court for the will’s probate and to have Alicia as the administratrix of his property. In 1985, before the probate proceeding can be terminated, Lorenzo died. Later, Paula filed a petition for letters of administration over Lorenzo’s estate.

RTC ruled that Lorenzo’s marriage with Alicia is void because the divorce decree granted to the late Lorenzo Llorente is void and inapplicable in the Philippines, therefore the marriage he contracted with Alicia Fortunato on January 16, 1958 at Manila is likewise void.

The CA affirmed the trial court decision.

ISSUES:

Whether or not Lorenzo’s divorce abroad should be recognized in the Philippines.


HELD:

YES. It is undisputed by Paula Llorente that Lorenzo became an American citizen in 1943. Hence, when he obtained the divorce decree in 1952, he is already an American citizen.

 Article 15 of the Civil Code provides, Laws relating to family rights and duties, or to the status, condition and legal capacity of persons are binding upon citizens of the Philippines, even though living abroad.

Since Lorenzo was no longer a Filipino, Philippine laws relating to family rights, duties, or status are no longer applicable to him. Therefore, the divorce decree he obtained abroad must be respected. The rule is: aliens may obtain divorces abroad, provided they are valid according to their national law.

However, this case was still remanded to the lower court so as for the latter to determine the effects of the divorce as to the successional rights of Lorenzo and his heirs.

Regarding on the issue of Lorenzo’s last will and testament, it must be respected because he is an alien and is not covered by our laws on succession. However, since the will was submitted to our courts for probate, then the case was remanded to the lower court where the foreign law must be alleged in order to prove the validity of the will.

MINORU FUJIKI V. MARIA PAZ GALELA MARINAY CASE DIGEST - CIVIL LAW

MINORU FUJIKI VS. MARIA PAZ GALELA MARINAY        G.R. No. 196049               June 26, 2013

FACTS:

Petitioner Minoru Fujiki (Fujiki) is a Japanese national who married respondent Maria Paz Galela Marinay (Marinay) in the Philippines on 23 January 2004. The marriage did not sit well with petitioner’s parents. Thus, Fujiki could not bring his wife to Japan where he resides. Eventually, they lost contact with each other.

In 2008, Marinay met another Japanese, Shinichi Maekara (Maekara). Without the first marriage being dissolved, Marinay and Maekara were married on 15 May 2008 in Quezon City, Philippines. Maekara brought Marinay to Japan. However, Marinay allegedly suffered physical abuse from Maekara. She left Maekara and started to contact Fujiki.

Fujiki and Marinay met in Japan and they were able to reestablish their relationship. In 2010, Fujiki helped Marinay obtain a judgment from a family court in Japan which declared the marriage between Marinay and Maekara void on the ground of bigamy. On 14 January 2011, Fujiki filed a petition in the RTC entitled: “Judicial Recognition of Foreign Judgment (or Decree of Absolute Nullity of Marriage).”

RTC dismissed the petition for "Judicial Recognition of Foreign Judgment ·(or Decree of Absolute Nullity of Marriage)" based on improper venue and the lack of personality of petitioner, Minoru Fujiki, to file the petition.

Fujiki filed a motion for reconsideration which the RTC denied upon consideration that Fujiki as a "third person” in the proceeding because he "is not the husband in the decree of divorce issued by the Japanese Family Court, which he now seeks to be judicially recognized.

The OSG agreed with the petitioner that the RTC’s decision be set aside.

ISSUES:

1. Whether the Rule on Declaration of Absolute Nullity of Void Marriages and Annulment of Voidable Marriages (A.M. No. 02-11-10-SC) is applicable.

2. Whether a husband or wife of a prior marriage can file a petition to recognize a foreign judgment nullifying the subsequent marriage between his or her spouse and a foreign citizen on the ground of bigamy.

3. Whether the RTC can recognize the foreign judgment in a proceeding for cancellation or correction of entries in the Civil Registry under Rule 108 of the Rules of Court.


RULING:

1. No. Rule on Declaration of Absolute Nullity of Void Marriages and Annulment of Voidable Marriages (A.M. No. 02-11-10-SC) does not apply in a petition to recognize a foreign judgment relating to the status of a marriage where one of the parties is a citizen of a foreign country.

2. YES. The prior spouse has a personal and material interest in maintaining the integrity of the marriage he contracted and the property relations arising from it. Fujiki has the personality to file a petition to recognize the Japanese Family Court judgment nullifying the marriage between Marinay and Maekara on the ground of bigamy because the judgment concerns his civil status as married to Marinay.

3. YES. The Philippine court can recognize the effectivity of a foreign judgment, which presupposes a case which was already tried and decided under foreign law. Philippine courts already have jurisdiction to extend the effect of a foreign judgment in the Philippines to the extent that the foreign judgment does not contravene domestic public policy. However, the Philippine courts have jurisdiction to recognize a foreign judgment nullifying a bigamous marriage, without prejudice to a criminal prosecution for bigamy.

In the recognition of foreign judgments, Philippine courts are incompetent to substitute their judgment on how a case was decided under foreign law. They cannot decide on the "family rights and duties, or on the status, condition and legal capacity" of the foreign citizen who is a party to the foreign judgment. Thus, Philippine courts are limited to the question of whether to extend the effect of a foreign judgment in the Philippines. In a foreign judgment relating to the status of a marriage involving a citizen of a foreign country, Philippine courts only decide whether to extend its effect to the Filipino party, under the rule of lex nationalii expressed in Article 15 of the Civil Code

SUSAN LIM-LUA V. DANILO LUA CASE DIGEST - CIVIL LAW

SUSAN LIM-LUA VS. DANILO LUA                                        G.R. Nos. 175279-80 June 5, 2013


FACTS:

Susan Lim-Lua filed a petition against Danilo Lua for a declaration of nullity of marriage with a prayer for support pendente lite for herself and her two children amounting to P500,000.00 per month. Citing respondent’s huge earnings from salaries and dividends in several companies and businesses here and abroad.

After due hearing, RTC cited Art. 203 of the Family Code, stating that support is demandable from the time plaintiff needed the said support but is payable only from the date of judicial demand, and thus also granted support pendente lite of P250,000.00.

The husband filed for Motion for Reconsideration asserting that petitioner is not entitled to spousal support considering that she does not maintain for herself a separate dwelling from their children and respondent has continued to support the family for their sustenance and well- being in accordance with family’s social and financial standing.

The husband also assert that the P250,000 monthly support and the 1,750,000.00 retroactive support is unconscionable and beyond the intendment of the law for not having considered the needs of the respondent

MR denied thus he appealed to the CA wherein it reduced the monthly support to P115,000.00 which ruling was no longer questioned by both parties.

The controversy between the parties resurfaced when respondent’s compliance with the final CA decision indicated that he deducted from the total amount in arrears (P2,645,000.00) the sum of P2,482,348.16, representing the value of the two cars for the children, their cost of maintenance and advances are given to the petitioner and his children.

CA ruled in favor of the husband that the expenses incurred by the husband be considered advances which may be properly deducted from the support in arrears due to the petitioner and the two children.

Thus ordered the deduction of the amount of PhP3,428,813.80 from the current total support in arrears of Danilo to his wife, Susan Lim Lua and their two children.

ISSUE:

Whether certain expenses already incurred by the respondent may be deducted from the total support in arrears owing to the petitioner and her children.

RULING.

The SC partly granted CA’s decision. First, is to resume payment of his monthly support of PhP115,000.00 pesos starting from the time payment of this amount was deferred by him. Second, that only the amount of Php 648,102.29 may be allowed as deductions from the accrued support pendente lite for petitioner and her children and not PhP3,428,813.80 (rendered by the CA).

REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES V. EDNA ORCELINO-VILLANUEVA CASE DIGEST - CIVIL LAW

REPUBLIC v. EDNA ORCELINO-VILLANUEVA                                     GR No. 210929, Jul 29, 2015

FACTS:

Edna worked as a domestic helper in Singapore in 1992 while her husband worked as a mechanic in Valencia, Bukidnon. The two got married on December 21, 1978, in Iligan City. While she was in Singapore(1993) , her children informed her that her husband left their home without telling them his whereabouts. Due to this news, she was prompted to go back to the Philippines to look and find his husband. Edna searched and made inquiries about her husband thru their common friends, and parents-in-law in Iligan and Valencia City and even went far as to his birthplace in Negros Oriental.

15 years later she filed to the RTC a petition to declare Romeo presumptively dead under Article 41 of the Family Code. During the trial, she was presented as the lone witness.

RTC grants her petition.

The OSG thru a petition for Certiorari under Rule 65 of the Rules of Court questioned the decision of the RTC on the ground that the conclusions reached by the RTC were in direct opposition to established jurisprudence, as ruled by the Court in Republic v. Nolasco, and U.S. v. Biasbas.

CA dismissed the OSG’s petition.

ISSUE:

Whether or not the strict standard approach were followed by Edna before she filed a petition for declaration of presumptive death of her husband.

RULING.

NO. Edna claimed that she made diligent search and inquiries to find her husband but it was found out that it was all consisted of bare assertions without any corroborative evidence on record. Edna did not present additional witnesses (her children, their common friends, parents-in-law) but herself alone. There was not even any attempt to seek the aid of the authorities at the time her husband disappeared.

Therefore, The petition of respondent Edna Orcelino-Villanueva to have her husband declared presumptively dead is DENIED.




REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES. VS. ALBIOS CASE DIGEST - CIVIL LAW

REPUBLIC OF THE PHILS. VS. ALBIOS              G.R. No. 198780               October 16, 2013

FACTS:

Fringer and Liberty Albios got married on October 22, 2004, before the sala of Judge Calo in Mandaluyong City. 2 years after their marriage (December 6, 2006), Albios filed with the RTC a petition for declaration of nullity of her marriage with Fringer. According to her, the marriage was a marriage in jest because she only wed the American to acquire US citizenship and even arranged to pay him $2,000 in exchange for his consent. Adding that immediately after their marriage, they separated and never lived as husband and wife because they never really had any intention of entering into a married state and complying with their marital obligations. The court even sent summons to the husband but he failed to file an answer.

Both the RTC and CA ruled in favor of Albios declaring that the marriage was void ab initio for lack of consent because the parties failed to freely give their consent to the marriage as they had no intention to be legally bound by it and used it only as a means to acquire American citizenship in consideration of $2,000.00.. However, the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) elevated the case to the SC. According to the OSG, the case do not fall within the concept of a marriage in jest as the parties intentionally consented to enter into a real and valid marriage. That the parties here intentionally consented to enter into a real and valid marriage, for if it were otherwise, the purpose of Albios to acquire American citizenship would be rendered futile.

ISSUE:

Is a marriage, contracted for the sole purpose of acquiring American citizenship in consideration of $2,000.00, void ab initio on the ground of lack of consent?

RULING:

NO. Both Fringer and Albios consented to the marriage. In fact, there was real consent because it was not vitiated nor rendered defective by any vice of consent.

Their consent was also conscious and intelligent as they understood the nature and the beneficial and inconvenient consequences of their marriage, as nothing impaired their ability to do so.

That their consent was freely given is best evidenced by their conscious purpose of acquiring American citizenship through marriage. Such plainly demonstrates that they willingly and deliberately contracted the marriage. There was a clear intention to enter into a real and valid marriage so as to fully comply with the requirements of an application for citizenship. There was a full and complete understanding of the legal tie that would be created between them, since it was that precise legal tie which was necessary to accomplish their goal.

Under Article 2 of the Family Code, for consent to be valid, it must be (1) freely given and (2) made in the presence of a solemnizing officer.

A "freely given" consent requires that the contracting parties willingly and deliberately enter into the marriage.

Consent must be real in the sense that it is not vitiated nor rendered defective by any of the vices of consent under Articles 45 and 46 of the Family Code, such as fraud, force, intimidation, and undue influence. None of these are present in the case.

Therefore, their marriage remains valid.

Saturday, February 4, 2017

JEFFREY NACAGUE vs. SULPICIO LINES (2010)

JEFFREY NACAGUE vs. SULPICIO LINES, INC.(2010)

Petitioner: Jeffrey Nacague
Respondent: Sulpicio Lines

FACTS:

Respondent Sulpicio Lines, Inc. hired Nacague as "hepe de viaje" or the representative of Sulpicio Lines on board its vessel M/V Princess of the World.

Sulpicio Lines received an anonymous letter reporting the use of illegal drugs on board the ship.

Ceasar T. Chico, a housekeeper on the ship, submitted a report regarding the drug paraphernalia found inside the Mopalla Suite Room and the threat on his life made by Nacague and Chief Mate Reynaldo Doroon after he found the drug paraphernalia.

Sulpicio Lines sent a notice of investigation to Nacague informing him of the charges against him for use of illegal drugs and threatening a co-employee.

When the ship docked in the port of Manila on, some crew members of the ship, together with Nacague, were subjected to a random drug test. They were taken to S.M. Lazo Medical Clinic and were required to submit urine samples. Nacague was found positive for methamphetamine hydrochloride or shabu.

Sulpicio Lines subjected Nacague to a formal investigation. Nacague denied using illegal drugs.

5 days after the random drug testing, Nacague went to Chong Hua Hospital in Cebu City to undergo a voluntary drug test. The drug test with Chong Hua Hospital yielded a negative result. Nacague submitted this test result to Sulpicio Lines. However, Sulpicio Lines still terminated him from the service for the reason of finding him culpable of grave misconduct and loss of trust and confidence due to his positive drug result.

Feeling aggrieved, Nacague filed a complaint for illegal suspension, illegal dismissal and for reinstatement with backwages.

LA rendered a decision in favor of Nacague and declared that Sulpicio Lines illegally dismissed Nacague.
REASON OF LA: The drug test result from S.M. Lazo Clinic was questionable because the clinic is not accredited by the Dangerous Drug Board and not under its supervision.

NLRC reversed the Labor Arbiter’s decision.
REASON OF NLRC: Nacague, who was performing a task involving trust and confidence, was found positive for using illegal drugs, he was guilty of serious misconduct and loss of trust and confidence.

MR denied.

CA affirmed NLRC’s decision.
REASON OF CA: Sulpicio Lines complied with both the procedural and substantive requirements of the law when it terminated the employment of Nacague.

ISSUE:

Whether or not the termination was valid.

RULING:

NO. Sulpicio Lines failed to clearly show that Nacague was guilty of using illegal drugs. The lack of accreditation of S.M. Lazo Clinic made its drug test results doubtful.

Section 36 of R.A. No. 9165 provides that drug tests shall be performed only by authorized drug testing centers. Moreover, Section 36 also prescribes that drug testing shall consist of both the screening test and the confirmatory test.

The law is clear that drug tests shall be performed only by authorized drug testing centers.In this case, Sulpicio Lines failed to prove that S.M. Lazo Clinic is an accredited drug testing center. Sulpicio Lines did not even deny Nacague’s allegation that S.M. Lazo Clinic was not accredited. Also, only a screening test was conducted to determine if Nacague was guilty of using illegal drugs. Sulpicio Lines did not confirm the positive result of the screening test with a confirmatory test. Sulpicio Lines failed to indubitably prove that Nacague was guilty of using illegal drugs amounting to serious misconduct and loss of trust and confidence. Sulpicio Lines failed to clearly show that it had a valid and legal cause for terminating Nacague’s employment. When the alleged valid cause for the termination of employment is not clearly proven, as in this case, the law considers the matter a case of illegal dismissal.

PETITION is GRANTED.

FULL TEXT HERE!!!

CHINA CITY RESTAURANT CORPORATION vs.NLRC (1993)

CHINA CITY RESTAURANT CORPORATION vs. NATIONAL LABOR RELATIONS COMMISSION, MONICO DIETO and JUNILITO CABLAY (1993)


Petitioner: China City Restaurant
Respondents: Monico Dieto and Junilito Cablay
Topic: Procedural Process

FACTS:
Petitioner China City Restaurant employed private respondents Monico Dieto and Julinito Cablay, private respondents as chief steamer and roasting helper, respectively.

Sometime in 1988, the China City Employees Union, with Monico Dieto as President, was organized and thereafter demanded recognition from petitioner.

Abe Fuentes, a steamer helper at petitioner's restaurant, was detained at the Makati Municipal Jail for allegedly stealing dried scallops worth two thousand pesos (P2,000.00) belonging to the petitioner.

Abe Fuentes alleged that as early as April 1988, he, in conspiracy with private respondents, had been bringing out from the restaurant dried scallops wrapped in plastic, by mixing them with leftovers thrown into the thrash can. They were sold at Ongpin, Binondo, Manila. They would then divide the proceeds among themselves, with the private respondents getting the lion's share. A criminal charge for qualified theft was thereafter filed against the private respondents.

On March 27, 1989, an amended information was filed to include private respondents as co-accused in the qualified theft case filed against Abe Fuentes. Later, Abe Fuentes turned state witness.

On March 22, 1989, petitioner, through a memorandum, terminated the services of the private respondents on the ground of loss of trust and confidence.

Thereafter a complaint for illegal dismissal was filed by the private respondents against the petitioner with the Department of Labor and Employment.

Private respondents professed ignorance of the crime exposed by Abe Fuentes. They claimed that when they visited Abe Fuentes at his detention cell, the latter allegedly told them that Jose Polotan, the restaurant administrator, was forcing him to name the private respondents as his co-conspirators but that he allegedly refused. Later, however, private respondents were surprised to learn that Abe Fuentes was released on bail at the instance of the petitioner. They vigorously claimed that they were implicated in the theft incident because of their being union members.

LA ruled in favor of respondents by declaring the dismissal of the complainants as illegal.
NLRC affirmed the decision of the Labor Arbiter.
MR- also denied.

ISSUE:

Whether or not the preliminary ruling of the fiscal can be considered as substantial compliance with the procedural process of law.

RULING:

NO. Private respondents were not afforded the formal investigation required and that the fiscal's investigation could not legally take its place because the fiscal's finding of prima facie case of qualified theft against private respondents was based solely on the affidavit executed by the original accused-turned state witness, Abe Fuentes, to the effect that he conspired with the private respondents in the theft of dried scallops. The only connection of the private respondents to the charge is the implication made by Abe Fuentes. Private respondents having been acquitted of the charge of qualified theft by the RTC doubted the veracity of Abe Fuentes' testimony against them. It is therefore necessary to scrutinize this implication.

Aside from Abe Fuentes' affidavit and the criminal complaint/information, there is no other evidence shown by petitioner positively linking private respondents to the alleged theft committed.

Furthermore, even the Labor Arbiter found that "A close scrutiny of the facts and evidences attached to the record will reveal that the implication of the complainants by Abe Fuentes in the commission of the crime of qualified theft is not enough basis for the respondent to terminate them. . . . Since they failed to establish sufficient basis for concluding that the complainants were really in connivance with Abe Fuentes in the commission of the qualified theft, the dismissal becomes illegal".

Under the Labor Code, as amended, the requirements for the lawful dismissal of an employee by his employer are two-fold: the substantive and the procedural. Not only must the dismissal be for a valid or authorized cause as provided by law [Arts. 279, 281, 282-284], but the rudimentary requirements of due process — notice and hearing — must also be observed before an employee may be dismissed [Art. 277(b)]. One cannot go without the other, for otherwise the termination would, in the eyes of the law, be illegal.

In this case, there is no sufficient basis to support the belief that a just and lawful cause exists. The just and lawful cause constitutes the substantive aspect of due process. Lack of just causes render the dismissal illegal.

PETITION is DISMISSED.