JOVITO N. QUISABA vs. STA. INES-MELALE VENEER & PLYWOOD, INC.

Posted: April 12, 2017 in case digests, civil law, torts
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JOVITO N. QUISABA vs. STA. INES-MELALE VENEER & PLYWOOD, INC.

G.R. No. L-38088

August 30, 1974

 

FACTS: Quisaba was an internal auditor of SIMVP for 18 years. On January 1973, SIMVP VP Robert Hyde instructed him to purchase logs for the company’s plant, but Quisaba, he refused to do so, saying that such task is inconsistent with his position. The next day, Hyde informed Quisaba of his temporary relief as internal auditor so that he could carry out the instructions given. Hyde warned him that failure to comply would be considered a ground for his dismissal.

 

Quisaba responded with a plea for fairness and mercy as he would be without a job during an economic crisis and that he was demoted from a position of dignity to a servile and menial job.

 

Quisaba filed a complaint for moral damages, exemplary damages, termination pay and attorney’s fees against SIMVP and its VP Robert Hyde. Quisaba was NOT asking for backwages nor reinstatement. Quisaba alleged that due to SIMVP’s acts, he suffered mental anguish, serious anxiety, besmirched reputation, wounded feelings, moral shock and social humiliation.

 

SIMVP moved to dismiss the complaint on the ground of lack of jurisdiction of the CFI, asserting that the proper forum is the NLRC. Quisaba opposed this, and he informed the court that an NLRC representative said that NLRC has no jurisdiction over claims or suits for damages arising out of employee-employer relationship. Nonetheless, CFI granted the motion to dismiss on the ground that the complaint involves an employee-employer relation.

 

ISSUE: WON there was an oppressive dismissal?

HELD: YES.

RATIO: The “right” of the respondents to dismiss Quisaba should not be confused with the manner in which the right was exercised and the effects flowing therefrom. If the dismissal was done anti-socially or oppressively, as the complaint alleges, then the respondents violated article 1701 of the Civil Code which prohibits acts of oppression by either capital or labor against the other, and article 21, which makes a person liable for damages if he wilfully causes loss or injury to another in a manner that is contrary to morals, good customs or public policy, the sanction for which, by way of moral damages, is provided in article 2219, no. 10.

This case is concerned with a civil (not a labor) dispute, as it has to do with an alleged violation of Quisaba’s rights as a member of society, and it does not involve an existing employee-employer relation.

Civil law consists of that mass of precepts that determine or regulate the relations that exist between members of a society for the protection of private interests.

Although the acts complained of seemingly appear to constitute “matters involving employee-employer relations,” Quisaba’s complaint is grounded on the manner of his dismissal and the consequent effects of such dismissal, not on his dismissal per se, as he does not ask for reinstatement or backwages.

The “right” of SIMVP to dismiss Quisaba should not be confused with the manner in which the right was exercised and the effects flowing therefrom. If the dismissal was done anti-socially or oppressively, then SIMVP violated the following:

NCC 1701 – prohibits acts of oppression by either capital or labor against the other

NCC 21– makes a person liable for damages if he willfully causes loss or injury to another in a manner that is contrary to morals, good customs or public policy.

 

DISPOSITION: The order of September 18, 1973 is set aside, and this case is hereby ordered remanded to the court a quo for further proceedings in accordance with law. Costs against the private respondents.

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