Posted: May 1, 2015 in case digests, labor relations
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G.R. No. 74246 January 26, 1989

HON. VICENTE LEOGARDO, JR., in his capacity as Deputy Minister of Ministry of Labor and Employment judgment, and JOAQUIN A. DEQUILA, respondents.


Joaquin A. Dequila (or Dequilla) was hired on probation by Mariwasa Manufacturing, Inc. as a general utility worker on January 10, 1979. After 6 months, he was informed that his work was unsatisfactory and had failed to meet the required standards. To give him another chance, and with Dequila’s written consent, Mariwasa extended Dequila’s probationary period for another three months: from July 10 to October 9, 1979. Dequila’s performance, however, did not improve and Mariwasa terminated his employment at the end of the extended period.

Dequila filed a complaint for illegal dismissal against Mariwasa and its VP for Administration, Angel T. Dazo, and violation of Presidential Decrees Nos. 928 and 1389.

DIRECTOR OF MINISTRY OF LABOR: Complaint is dismissed. Termination is justified. Thus, Dequila appeals to the Minister of Labor.

MINISTER OF LABOR: Deputy Minister Vicente Leogardo, Jr. held that Dequila was already a regular employee at the time of his dismissal, thus, he was illegally dismissed. (Initial order: Reinstatement with full backwages. Later amended to direct payment of Dequila’s backwages from the date of his dismissal to December 20, 1982 only.)

ISSUE: WON employer and employee may, by agreement, extend the probationary period of employment beyond the six months prescribed in Art. 282 of the Labor Code?

RULING:  YES, agreements stipulating longer probationary periods may constitute lawful exceptions to the statutory prescription limiting such periods to six months.

The SC in its decision in Buiser vs. Leogardo, Jr. (1984) said that “Generally, the probationary period of employment is limited to six (6) months. The exception to this general rule is when the parties to an employment contract may agree otherwise, such as when the same is established by company policy or when the same is required by the nature of work to be performed by the employee. In the latter case, there is recognition of the exercise of managerial prerogatives in requiring a longer period of probationary employment, such as in the present case where the probationary period was set for eighteen (18) months, i.e. from May, 1980 to October, 1981 inclusive, especially where the employee must learn a particular kind of work such as selling, or when the job requires certain qualifications, skills experience or training.”

In this case, the extension given to Dequila could not have been pre-arranged to avoid the legal consequences of a probationary period satisfactorily completed.  In fact, it was ex gratia, an act of liberality on the part of his employer affording him a second chance to make good after having initially failed to prove his worth as an employee. Such an act cannot now unjustly be turned against said employer’s account to compel it to keep on its payroll one who could not perform according to its work standards.

By voluntarily agreeing to an extension of the probationary period, Dequila in effect waived any benefit attaching to the completion of said period if he still failed to make the grade during the period of extension. By reasonably extending the period of probation, the questioned agreement actually improved the probationary employee’s prospects of demonstrating his fitness for regular employment.

Petition granted. Order of Deputy Minister Leogardo reversed.



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