163194-2009-Jackbilt Industries Inc. v. Jackbilt

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    FIRST DIVISION [G.R. Nos. 171618-19. March 13, 2009.]JACKBILT INDUSTRIES, INC.JACKBILT INDUSTRIES, INC.,  petitioner  , vs vs  . JACKBILT EMPLOYEES. JACKBILT EMPLOYEESWORKERS UNION-NAFLU-KMUWORKERS UNION-NAFLU-KMU,  respondent  .D E C I S I O ND E C I S I O NCORONACORONA,  J p :This petition for review on certiorari    11  seeks to reverse and set aside the July 13,2005 decision 22  and February 9, 2006 resolution 33  of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. SPNo. 65208 and CA-G.R. SP No. 65425. EaISDC Due to the adverse effects of the Asian economic crisis on the constructionindustry beginning 1997, petitioner Jackbilt Industries, Inc. decided to temporarily stopits business of producing concrete hollow blocks, compelling most of its employees togo on leave for six months. 44 Respondent Jackbilt Employees Workers Union-NAFLU-KMU immediatelyprotested the temporary shutdown. Because its collective bargaining agreement withpetitioner was expiring during the period of the shutdown, respondent claimed thatpetitioner halted production to avoid its duty to bargain collectively. The shutdown was allegedly motivated by anti-union sentiments.Accordingly, on March 9, 1998, respondent went on strike. Its ofcers andmembers picketed petitioner's main gates and deliberately prevented persons andvehicles from going into and out of the compound.On March 19, 1998, petitioner led a petition for injunction 55  with a prayer for theissuance of a temporary restraining order (TRO) in the National Labor RelationsCommission (NLRC). It sought to enjoin respondent from obstructing free entry to andexit from its production facility. 66 On April 14, 1998, the NLRC issued a TRO directing the respondents to refrainfrom preventing access to petitioner's property.The reports of both the implementing ofcer and the investigating labor arbiterrevealed, however, that respondent union violated the April 14, 1998 order. Unionmembers, on various occasions, stopped and inspected private vehicles entering andexiting petitioner's production facility. Thus, in a decision dated July 17, 1998, the NLRCordered the issuance of a writ of preliminary injunction. 77 Meanwhile, petitioner sent individual memoranda to the ofcers and members ofrespondent who participated in the strike 88  ordering them to explain why they shouldnot be dismissed for committing illegal acts in the course of a strike. 99  However,respondent repeatedly ignored petitioner's memoranda despite the extensions granted. 1010  Thus, on May 30, 1998, petitioner dismissed the concerned ofcers and membersand barred them from entering its premises effective June 1, 1998. CD Technologies Asia, Inc. 2016cdasiaonline.com  Aggrieved, respondent led complaints for illegal lockout, runaway shop anddamages, 1111  unfair labor practice, illegal dismissal and attorney's fees, 1212  and refusal tobargain 1313  on behalf of its ofcers and members against petitioner and its corporateofcers. It argued that there was no basis for the temporary partial shutdown as it wasundertaken by petitioner to avoid its duty to bargain collectively. HITEaS Petitioner, on the other hand, asserted that because respondent conducted astrike without observing the procedural requirements provided in Article 263 of theLabor Code, 1414  the March 9, 1998 strike was illegal. Furthermore, in view of the July 17,1998 decision of the NLRC (which found that respondent obstructed the free ingress toand egress from petitioner's premises), petitioner validly dismissed respondent'sofficers and employees for committing illegal acts in the course of a strike.In a decision dated October 15, 1999, 1515  the labor arbiter dismissed thecomplaints for illegal lockout and unfair labor practice for lack of merit. However,because petitioner did not le a petition to declare the strike illegal 1616  beforeterminating respondent's ofcers and employees, it was found guilty of illegaldismissal. The dispositive portion of the decision read: WHEREFOREWHEREFORE, judgment is hereby rendered nding [petitioner and its corporateofcers] liable for the illegal dismissal of the 61 union ofcer and members of[respondent] and concomitantly, [petitioner and its corporate ofcers] are hereby jointly and severally ordered to pay [respondents' ofcers and members] limitedbackwages from June 1, 1998 to October 4, 1998.[Petitioner and its corporate ofcers] are further ordered to pay [respondents'ofcers and members] separation pay based on 1/2 salary for every year ofcredited service, a fraction of at least 6 months to be considered as one wholeyear in lieu of reinstatement.The complaint for unfair labor practice, moral and exemplary damages andrunaway shop are hereby disallowed for lack of merit.SO ORDERED. On December 28, 2000, the NLRC, on appeal, modied the decision of the laborarbiter. It held that only petitioner should be liable for monetary awards granted torespondent's officers and members. 1717 Both petitioner and respondent moved for reconsideration but they were deniedfor lack of merit. 1818 Aggrieved, petitioner assailed the December 28, 2000 decision of the NLRC via apetition for  certiorari 1919  in the CA. It asserted that the NLRC committed grave abuse ofdiscretion in disregarding its July 17, 1998 decision 2020  wherein respondent's ofcersand employees were found to have committed illegal acts in the course of the March 9,1998 strike. In view thereof and pursuant to Article 264 (a) (3) of the Labor Code, 2121 petitioner validly terminated respondent's officers and employees. SDIaCT The CA dismissed the petition but modied the December 28, 2000 decision ofthe NLRC. 2222  Because most of affected employees were union members, the CA heldthat the temporary shutdown was moved by anti-union sentiments. Petitioner wastherefore guilty of unfair labor practice and, consequently, was ordered to payrespondent's ofcers and employees backwages from March 9, 1998 (instead of June1, 1998) to October 4, 1998 and separation pay of one month salary for every year ofcredited service. CD Technologies Asia, Inc. 2016cdasiaonline.com  Petitioner moved for reconsideration but it was denied. 2323  Thus, this recourse.The primordial issue in this petition is whether or not the ling of a petition withthe labor arbiter to declare a strike illegal is a condition sine qua non   for the validtermination of employees who commit an illegal act in the course of such strike.Petitioner asserts that the ling of a petition to declare the strike illegal wasunnecessary since the NLRC, in its July 17, 1998 decision, had already found thatrespondent committed illegal acts in the course of the strike.We grant the petition.The principle of conclusiveness of judgment, embodied in Section 47 (c), Rule 39of the Rules of Court, 2424  holds that the parties to a case are bound by the ndings in aprevious judgment with respect to matters actually raised and adjudged therein. 2525 Article 264 (e) of the Labor Code prohibits any person engaged in picketing fromobstructing the free ingress to and egress from the employer's premises. Sincerespondent was found in the July 17, 1998 decision of the NLRC to have prevented thefree entry into and exit of vehicles from petitioner's compound, respondent's ofcersand employees clearly committed illegal acts in the course of the March 9, 1998 strike.The use of unlawful means in the course of a strike renders such strike illegal. 2626 Therefore, pursuant to the principle of conclusiveness of judgment, the March 9, 1998strike was ipso facto   illegal. The ling of a petition to declare the strike illegal was thusunnecessary.Consequently, we uphold the legality of the dismissal of respondent's ofcersand employees. Article 264 of the Labor Code 2727  further provides that an employer mayterminate employees found to have committed illegal acts in the course of a strike. 2828 Petitioner clearly had the legal right to terminate respondent's ofcers and employees. 2929   ACIESH WHEREFORE, the petition is hereby granted. The July 13, 2005 decision andFebruary 9, 2006 resolution of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. SP No. 65208 and CA-G.R. SP No. 65425 are hereby REVERSED and SET ASIDE.The December 28, 2000 and March 6, 2001 resolutions of the National LaborRelations Commission in NLRC-CA No. 022614-2000 are MODIFIED insofar as theyafrmed the October 15, 1999 decision of the labor arbiter in NLRC-NCR-Case No. 00-06-05017-98 nding petitioner Jackbilt Industries, Inc. guilty of illegal dismissal forterminating respondent's ofcers and employees. New judgment is hereby enteredDISMISSING NLRC-NCR-Case No. 00-06-05017-98 for lack of merit.SO ORDERED. Ynares-Santiago, **  Carpio, ****  Leonardo-de Castro and Brion, JJ.,   ******  concur.  Footnotes  * Per Special Order No. 584 dated March 3, 2009.** Per Special Order No. 583 dated March 3, 2009.*** Per Special Order No. 570 dated February 12, 2009. Ea CD Technologies Asia, Inc. 2016cdasiaonline.com  1. Under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court.2. Penned by Associate Justice Vicente Q. Roxas (dismissed from service) and concurred inby Associate Justices Portia Aliño-Hormachuelos and Juan Q. Enriquez, Jr. of theSeventh Division of the Court of Appeals.  Rollo  , pp. 56-63.3. Id. , pp. 70-71.4. Inter-office memorandum of petitioner's administrative officer-in-charge Albert L. Bantug.Annex C , id. , pp. 72-73.5. Docketed as NLRC NCR IC No. 000793-98.6. See   Labor Code, Art. 264 (e). The article provides: Article 264. Prohibited activities  . — . . . EaHcDS  (e) No person engaged in picketingNo person engaged in picketing shall commit any act of violence,coercion or intimidation or obstruct the free ingress to or egress from theobstruct the free ingress to or egress from theemployer's premises for lawful purposesemployer's premises for lawful purposes, or obstruct public thoroughfares.(emphasis supplied)7. Penned by Commissioner Angelita A. Gacutan and concurred in by PresidingCommissioner Raul T. Aquino and Commissioner Victoriano R. Calaycay of the SecondDivision of the NLRC.  Rollo  , pp. 123-130.8. Daniel M. Abara, Enrique G. Abrenica, Demetrio C. Anglo, Crizaldo P. Aragones, Romeo M.Badion, Olimpio C. Bandi, Jr., Virgilio R. Benavidez, Romeo E. Bersabe, Guilberto C.Biscocho, Ruben P. Borreta, Maximo C. Cabusay, Giogenes D. Catubay, Domingo C.Cardiente, Enrico C. Comedia, Crispin B. Cruz, Jimmy L. Dacara, Sergio M. Datuin,Cordencio B. Del Pilar, Elizalde O. de los Santos, Eusebio G. Dimapilis, Nemesio E.Elampario, Armando P. Espinoza, Nelson E. Esteve, Romeo G. Fabro, Mariano P. Forten,Rodolfo A. Galanto, Samson A. Gatarin, Arnold P. Genil, Espiridion E. Gines, Rodolfo E.Gines, Daniel L. Goday, Geoffrey M. Gratela, Juanito N. Lauresta, Cezar S. Lintag, DaniloD. Liso-an, Nilo M. Macahia, Carlito C. Marinas, Alberto A. Marquez, Avelino S. Mendoza,Benjamin M. Mercado, Celso T. Mercado, Angelito B. Neroza, Artemio Z. Olegario, EdgarR. Panis, Dario L. Perdigon, Roberto L. Piodina, Manuel C. Plaquia, Claro P. Queron, BirnieC. Ramirez, Ariel J. Regala, Dolphy C. Registrado, Loreto M. Revil, Ruben C. Sanchez,Sergio S. Soriano, Geronimo T. Tacdoro, Felipe E. Vallente, Marlon N. Velarde, Jhun C.Yadao, and Abraham M. Yumul. 9. Memorandum dated April 28, 1998. Annex F , id. , p. 157. Petitioner's memorandumstated: ScCEIA  Based on records, you have been identified as one of those who actively participated and joined the concerted action at [petitioner's] main gate, starting March 9, 1998, to wit: 1. effectively prevent[ed] free egress and ingress to the company's premises; 2. prevented the delivery of company products to the customers; 3. coerced employees from not reporting for working; 4. threatened employees reporting for work; 5. damage[d] the image and goodwill of the company by preventing customers fromtransacting business with the company [and] CD Technologies Asia, Inc. 2016cdasiaonline.com
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