D. Judicial review of labor rulings

Frequency: ★★★★☆

1. COURT OF APPEALS

a. Rule 65 – Special Civil Action

When any tribunal, board or officer exercising judicial or quasi-judicial functions has acted without or in excess its or his jurisdiction, or with grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction, and there is no appeal, or any plain, speedy, and adequate remedy in the ordinary course of law, a person aggrieved thereby may file a verified petition in the proper court, alleging the facts with certainty and praying that judgment be rendered annulling or modifying the proceedings of such tribunal, board or officer, and granting such incidental reliefs as law and justice may require. (Section 1, Rule 65, Rules of Court)

A special civil action for certiorari is an original civil action and not an appeal. An appeal aims to correct errors in judgment and rectify errors in the appreciation of facts and law which a lower court may have committed in the proper exercise of its jurisdiction. A special civil action for certiorari, on the other hand, is used to correct errors in jurisdiction. We have defined an error in jurisdiction as “one where the officer or tribunal acted without or in excess of its jurisdiction, or with grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction.”

b. Hierarchy of Courts

All Rule 65 petitions of NLRC decisions/resolutions should be initially filed in the Court of Appeals in strict observance of the doctrine on the hierarchy of courts as the appropriate forum for the relief desired. (St. Martin Funeral Home v. NLRC, Aricayos, G.R. No. 130866, 16 September 1998)

c. Covered Cases

Rule 65 Labor-Related Cases:
1) NLRC decision/resolution;
2) DOLE Secretary’s decision/resolution;
NB: From the DOLE Secretary’s decision/resolution, recourse may either be: (a) a special civil action under Rule 65 to the Court of Appeals; or (b) an appeal to the Office of the President under Administrative Order No. 22, Series of 2011. The recourse is concurrent, and not mutually exclusive.
3) Office of the President decision/resolution.

•••••

BAR EXAM QUESTION

(Question A.9[b], Part I, Labor Law, 2019 Bar Exam)

After due proceedings, the Labor Arbiter (LA) declared Mr. K to have been illegally dismissed by his former employer, AB, Inc. As a consequence, the LA directed ABC, Inc. to pay Mr. K separation pay in lieu of reinstatement as well as his full backwages.

While ABC, Inc. accepted the finding of illegal dismissal, it nevertheless filed a motion for reconsideration, claiming that the LA erred in awarding both separation pay and full backwages, and instead, should have ordered Mr. K’s reinstatement to his former position without loss of seniority rights and other privileges, but without payment of backwages. In this regard, ABC, Inc. pointed out that the LA’s ruling did not contain any finding of strained relations or that reinstatement was no longer feasible. In any case, it appears that no evidence was presented on this score.

(b) Assuming than on appeal, the National Labor Relations Commission (NLRC) upholds the decision of the LA, where, how, and within what timeframe should ABC, Inc. assail the NLRC ruling? (2%)

SUGGESTED ANSWER:

(b) To assail the NLRC ruling, ABC, Inc. should file a Petition for Certiorari under Rule 65 before the Court of Appeals within sixty (60) days from receipt of the resolution of the NLRC on its motion for reconsideration.

•••••

2. SUPREME COURT

a. Rule 45 – Appeal by Certiorari to the Supreme Court

A party desiring to appeal by certiorari from a judgment or final order or resolution of the Court of Appeals, the Sandiganbayan, the Regional Trial Court or other courts whenever authorized by law, may file with the Supreme Court a verified petition for review on certiorari. The petition shall raise only questions of law which must be distinctly set forth. (Section 1, Rule 45, Rules of Court)

b. Time for filing; extension

The petition shall be filed within fifteen (15) days from notice of the judgment or final order or resolution appealed from, or of the denial of the petitioner’s motion for new trial or reconsideration filed in due time after notice of the judgment. On motion duly filed and served, with full payment of the docket and other lawful fees and the deposit for costs before the expiration of the reglementary period, the Supreme Court may for justifiable reasons grant an extension of thirty (30) days only within which to file the petition. (Section 2, Rule 45, Rules of Court)

c. Contents of petition

The petition shall be filed in eighteen (18) copies, with the original copy intended for the court being indicated as such by the petitioner and shall (a) state the full name of the appealing party as the petitioner and the adverse party as respondent, without impleading the lower courts or judges thereof either as petitioners or respondents; (b) indicate the material dates showing when notice of the judgment or final order or resolution subject thereof was received, when a motion for new trial or reconsideration, if any, was filed and when notice of the denial thereof was received; (c) set forth concisely a statement of the matters involved, and the reasons or arguments relied on for the allowance of the petition; (d) be accompanied by a clearly legible duplicate original, or a certified true copy of the judgment or final order or resolution certified by the clerk of court of the court a quo and the requisite number of plain copies thereof, and such material portions of the record as would support the petition; and (e) contain a sworn certification against forum shopping as provided in the last paragraph of section 2, Rule 42. (Section 4, Rule 45, Rules of Court)

d. Dismissal or denial of petition

The failure of the petitioner to comply with any of the foregoing requirements regarding the payment of the docket and other lawful fees, deposit for costs, proof of service of the petition, and the contents of and the documents which should accompany the petition shall be sufficient ground for the dismissal thereof. (Section 5, Rule 45, Rules of Court)

The Supreme Court may on its own initiative deny the petition on the ground that the appeal is without merit, or is prosecuted manifestly for delay, or that the questions raised therein are too unsubstantial to require consideration. (Paragraph 2, Section 5, Rule 45, Rules of Court)

e. Review, discretionary

A review is not a matter of right, but of sound judicial discretion, and will be granted only when there are special and important reasons thereof. The following, while neither controlling nor fully measuring the court’s discretion, indicate the character of the reasons which will be considered:

1) When the court a quo has decided a question of substance, not theretofore determined by the Supreme Court, or has decided it in a way probably not in accord with law or with the applicable decisions of the Supreme Court; or

2) When the court a quo has so far departed from the accepted and usual course of judicial proceedings, or so far sanctioned such departure by a lower court, as to call for an exercise of the power of supervision. (Section 6, Rule 45, Rules of Court)

Disclaimer: All information herein is for educational and general information only intended for those preparing for the bar exam. These should not be taken as professional legal advice or opinion. Please consult a competent lawyer to address your specific concerns. Any statements or opinions of the author are solely his own and do not reflect that of any organization he may be connected.

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