Saturday, February 4, 2017



Petitioner: Jeffrey Nacague
Respondent: Sulpicio Lines


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.


Whether or not the termination was valid.


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.



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