G.R. No. 146989: MELENCIO GABRIEL represented by Flordeliza Gabriel vs NELSON BILON, ANGEL BRAZIL, & ERNESTO PAGAYGAY
7 February 2007 l Labor Standards
Illegal Dismissal – Separation Pay – Appeal by Employer – Death of a Party – Strained Relations Principle – Employer-employee Relationship
Bilon, Brazil and Pagaygay are jeepney drivers driving jeepneys owned by Melencio Gabriel. They are paying P400/day for their boundary. Later, the drivers were required to pay an additional P50.00 to cover police protection, car wash, deposit fee, and garage fees.
The three drivers refused to pay the additional P50.00. On April 30, 1995, when the drivers reported to work, they were not given any jeepney to drive. Eventually, they were dismissed. The three drivers sued Gabriel for illegal dismissal.
The Labor Arbiter ruled in favor of the drivers and ordered Gabriel to pay the drivers their backwages and their separation pay amounting to about a total of P1.03M.
On April 18, 1997, the LA promulgated its decision and on the same day sent a copy thereof to Gabriel but Flordeliza (wife of Gabriel) refused to receive the copy. Apparently, Gabriel died on April 4, 1997. The copy was resent via registered mail on May 28, 1997. Flordeliza appealed to the LA on June 5, 1997.
The LA dismissed the appeal; it ruled that the appeal was not on time because the promulgation was made on April 18, 1997 and that the appeal on June 5, 1997 was already beyond the ten day period required for appeal.
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