Labor Law, Remedial Law

TOYOTA ALABANG v. EDWIN GAMES G.R. No. 206612 August 17, 2015 Appellate Remedies

FACTS:

Respondent Edwin Games was charged with qualified theft for allegedly stealing petitioner’s vehicle lubricants. Games filed a complaint for illegal dismissal against petitioner. The Labor Arbiter (LA) ruled against petitioner and ordered the latter to pay Games his separation pay, back wages, service incentive leave pay and attorney’s fees resulting from his illegal dismissal.

No MR was filed. Hence, the LA issued a Writ of Execution which petitioner sought to quash. The LA denied the claims of petitioner. Thus, petitioner appealed before the NLRC.

The NLRC dismissed the case on the basis of the rule that no appeal may be taken from an order of execution of a final judgment. For the NLRC, petitioner’s failure to appeal the LA Decision already made the ruling final and executory.

Petitioner elevated the case to the CA via a Petition for Certiorari, but the action was dismissed.

ISSUE:

Whether or not the LA’s Order is subject to appeal.

RULING:

The NLRC has given a well-founded reason for refusing to entertain petitioner’s appeal, namely, no appeal may be taken from an order of execution of a final and executory judgment.

An appeal is not a matter of right, but is a mere statutory privilege. It may be availed of only in the manner provided by law and the rules. Thus, a party who seeks to elevate an action must comply with the requirements of the 2011 NLRC Rules of Procedure as regards the period, grounds, venue, fees, bonds, and other requisites for a proper appeal before the NLRC; and in Section 6, Rule VI, the aforesaid rules prohibit appeals from final and executory decisions of the Labor Arbiter.

In this case, petitioner elevated to the NLRC an already final and executory decision of the LA. To recall, after petitioner learned of its former counsel’s negligence in filing a Position Paper before the LA, it nonetheless failed to file a motion reconsideration to question the ruling of the LA that it illegally dismissed Games. At that point, the Decision was already final and executory, so the LA dutifully issued a Writ of Execution. Petitioner sought the quashal of the writ of execution and the reopening of its case only at that stage; and only after it was rebuffed by the LA did petitioner appeal before the NLRC. Based on the timeline, therefore, the LA’s adverse Decision had become final and executory even prior to petitioner’s appeal before the NLRC contesting the denial of the Motion to Quash the Writ of Execution. Consequently, the NLRC dismissed the appeal based on its clear prohibition under Section 5, Rule V of the 2011 NLRC Rules of Procedure.

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