Almirante: Reckoning date in backwages computation

·3 min read

On Sept. 30, 2010, the National Labor Relations Commission (NLRC), Second Division, rendered a decision dismissing the appeal on the decision dated Nov. 19, 2009 of the Labor Arbiter (LA) filed by petitioners Laureano Concordio and seven others. The NLRC affirmed the finding of the LA that petitioners were not dismissed from employment and ordered their reinstatement within five days from receipt of the decision. Petitioners moved for reconsideration of the decision. On Nov. 22, 2010 while their motion was pending, they reported to respondent Erjohn & Almark Transit Corp., pursuant to the NLRC decision. The company refused to admit them back.

Petitioners filed a petition for certiorari before the Court of Appeals (CA) which was docketed as CA-G.R. SP 118079. After their petition was denied, they filed an appeal by certiorari with the Supreme Court which was likewise denied with finality for which an entry of judgment was subsequently issued on July 31, 2014.

While CA-G.R. SP 118079 was pending, the decision dated Sept. 30, 2010 of the NLRC attained finality as no injunction order had been issued by the CA. On Dec. 24, 2010 an entry of judgment was issued. On May 3, 2011, petitioners filed with the LA a motion for issuance of writ of execution regarding the reinstatement aspect of the Sept. 30, 2010 NLRC decision.

Is there merit to the motion? In the affirmative, when is the reckoning date in the computation of backwages?

Ruling: Yes. The backwages should be computed from Dec. 24, 2010.

Albeit that petitioner employees filed for certiorari with the CA and later an appeal with this Court, We hold that the Decision dated Sept. 30, 2010 of the NLRC is final and executory as to respondent company. Based from the facts, upon promulgation of the NLRC Decision, respondent company did not assail the decision, in whole or in part, through a motion for reconsideration with the NLRC, or through a petition for certiorari with the CA under Rule 65 of the Rules of Court. As far as respondent company was concerned, it found no reason for the NLRC Decision to be revisited and is considered satisfied with the adjudication therein. Respondent company’s failure to avail of the appropriate remedies within the prescribed period under the rules unavoidably rendered the judgment final. Thus, an appellee who has not himself appealed cannot obtain from the appellate court any affirmative relief other than those granted in the decision of the court below. As far as respondent is concerned, the reviewing tribunal is precluded from acquiring the jurisdiction to review and alter the final judgment.

As the judgment became immutable and unalterable and may no longer be modified in any respect, We find no reason for respondent company to depart from the order in the Decision dated Sept. 30, 2010 of the NLRC to reinstate petitioners upon its finality. Respondent company cannot be precluded from reinstating petitioners even with the pending certiorari proceedings with the CA in CA-G.R. SP 118079 or appeal with this Court in G.R. 209710, as such cases were filed by petitioner employees. In those proceedings, respondent company can only advance arguments to uphold the NLRC Decision. With an entry of judgment of the NLRC Decision having been issued on Dec. 24, 2010, respondent company is bound to reinstate petitioners from such time.

As discussed, respondent company should have reinstated petitioners on Dec. 24, 2010. Considering that We find no proof of return to work from respondent company, petitioners are entitled to receive backwages reckoned from Dec. 24, 2010 until they are reinstated, actually or in payroll. (Laureano Concordio, et al. vs. Erjohn & Almark Transit Corp., et al., G.R. 250147, Feb. 10, 2021).

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