Almirante: Increase of monetary award after execution

Dominador A. Almirante
·3 min read

In a case for illegal dismissal filed by respondent Luzvilla B. Dagpin against petitioner Casilda D. Tan, the Executive Labor Arbiter (ELA) declared the latter liable for illegal dismissal and awarded the former separation pay, backwages, service incentive leave pay, 13th month pay, moral and exemplary damages and attorney’s fees. Petitioner’s appeal from the decision and subsequent motion for reconsideration were dismissed by the National Labor Relations Commission (NLRC). Petitioner then filed a petition for certiorari before the Court of Appeals (CA).

An Entry of Judgment dated Jan. 17, 2005 was issued on the NLRC Resolution denying petitioner’s appeal. Upon motion filed by respondent, the ELA issued writs of execution for the total award of P1,005,146.83 which was fully enforced and satisfied as of Oct. 12, 2005.

Meantime, petitioner’s petition for certiorari was dismissed for lack of merit by the CA. Petitioner further filed a petition for review on certiorari before the Supreme Court which was denied under Resolution dated June 23, 2008 which became final and executory on Aug. 21, 2008.

Subsequently, respondent filed a motion and manifestation seeking additional increments to her monetary award. She claimed that her backwages and separation pay should be computed up to Aug. 21, 2008 when the Supreme Court’s Resolution on the issue of illegal dismissal became final and executory.

Does this claim find merit?

Ruling: No.

Execution is the final stage of litigation, the end of the suit. Our labor laws dictate that backwages must be computed from the time the employee was unjustly dismissed until his or her actual reinstatement or upon payment of his or her separation pay if reinstatement is no longer feasible. Hence, insofar as accrued backwages and other benefits are concerned, the employer’s obligation to the employee continues to accumulate until he actually implements the reinstatement aspect of the final judgment or fully satisfies the monetary award in case reinstatement is no longer feasible.

It is undisputed here that the NLRC Resolution dated July 29, 2004 which affirmed the fact of respondent’s illegal dismissal and monetary award became final and executory on Jan. 10, 2005. As soon as an entry of judgment thereon was issued on Jan. 17, 2005, the corresponding writ of execution got implemented and satisfied in full.

But this notwithstanding, petitioners still opted to fight it out before the Court of Appeals and later, before the Court. As it was, petitioners also lost in both fora. The Court’s Resolution dated June 23, 2008 dismissing the petition in G.R. 182268 became final and executory on Aug. 21, 2008. Notably, there was no modification of the NLRC Resolution dated July 29, 2004 which had been earlier executed and satisfied in respondent’s favor.

Although petitioners formally opposed respondent’s claims all the way up to this Court, they, nonetheless, yielded to the execution of judgment sought by the respondent way back in 2005 at the ELA’s level. Inasmuch as petitioners had already satisfied the final monetary benefits awarded to respondent, the latter may not ask for another round of execution, lest, it violates the principle against unjust enrichment.

To emphasize, there is no additional increment which accrued to respondent by reason of the Court’s Resolution dated June 23, 2008 which did not modify, let alone, alter the long executed judgment of the NLRC. (Casilda D. Tan and/or C&L Lending Investor vs. Luzvilla B. Dagpin, G.R. 212111, Jan. 15, 2020).