Case Digest: SILVERTEX WEAVING CORPORATION/ARMANDO ARCENAL/ROBERT ONG, Petitioners, v. TEODORA F. CA

G.R. No. 211411

March 16, 2016

REYES, J.:


Facts:

The case stems from a complaint for illegal dismissal and monetary claims filed by Teodora F. Campo (respondent) against the petitioners. Respondent worked for STWC as a weaving machine operator beginning June 11, 1999, until she was unlawfully dismissed from employment on November 21, 2010. Prior to her dismissal, she was suspended for one week beginning November 14, 2010 after a stitching machine that she was operating overheated and emitted smoke on November 13, 2010. When the respondent tried to report back to work on November 21, 2010, she was denied entry by the STWC's security guard, reportedly upon the instructions of Arcenal.


For their defense, the petitioners argued that the respondent, who was hired only in June 2009, voluntarily resigned from STWC after she was reprimanded for poor job performance. They submitted a handwritten resignation letter allegedly executed by the respondent on November 13, 2010, together with the Waiver, Release and Quitclaims Statement that she supposedly signed following her receipt of P30,000.00 from STWC.


The respondent, however, denied having executed the resignation letter, the quitclaim, and the supposed receipt of the P30,000.00.


The labor arbiter found the dismissal legal on the basis of the written resignation letter and Quitclaim that the respondent purportedly signed. The NLRC, in an earlier resolution, reversed the decision of the Labor Arbiter declaring respondent’s dismissal illegal. However, upon Motion for Consideration, the NLRC reversed its earlier resolution and held the legality of respondent’s dismissal on the basis of a Questioned Document Report (QDR) from the Philippine National Police (PNP) Crime Laboratory, which purportedly indicated that upon examination, the disputed signatures on the resignation letter and quitclaim were written by the respondent was used .The CA affirmed the earlier resolution explaining that reliance of the QDR was unsatisfactory.


Issue:

Whether or not respondent was constructively dismissed.


Ruling:

The Court held that respondent was illegally dismissed.


In illegal dismissal cases, the fundamental rule is that when an employer interposes the defense of resignation,the burden to prove that the employee indeed voluntarily resigned necessarily rests on him.


In disputing that she voluntarily resigned, respondent had consistently and vehemently denied having written and signed the resignation letter, nor had she executed the quitclaim and signed the receipt for the P30,000.00 she allegedly received from petitioner. Thus, the burden to prove otherwise rested on petitioner which they miserably failed to do.


The evidence presented by the petitioners to establish their defense of voluntary resignation failed to suffice.


As noted by the court, The CA, correctly explained that the NLRC's reliance on the resignation letter, quitclaim, receipt and on the QDR from the PNP Crime Laboratory to prove the letter's authenticity was unsatisfactory. In contrast with the NLRC's conclusion in its later Resolution that the respondent actually executed the resignation letter, the full report of the PNP Crime Laboratory actually indicated that the signature appearing on the alleged resignation letter did not appear to be written by the same person who signed the several payroll slips and Philhealth records, respectively marked as "S-l" to "S-14" and "S-15" to "S-17", that were submitted by the petitioners as reference on the respondent's true handwriting.


Furthermore, Even granting that the undated Waiver, Release and Quitclaims Statement was actually executed by the respondent, its execution was not fatal to the respondent's case for illegal dismissal. The finding of illegal dismissal could still stand, as jurisprudence provides that "[a]n employee's execution of a final settlement and receipt of amounts agreed upon do not foreclose his right to pursue a claim for illegal dismissal."


All told, the Court found no convincing reason to reverse the CA's finding that the respondent was illegally dismissed and thus entitled to reinstatement and monetary awards plus interest.

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