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Aris (Phils.) Inc. vs. NLRC [G.R. No. 905501. August 05, 1991]

16 Aug

Ponente: DAVIDE, JR., J.

FACTS:

On 11 April 1988, private respondents, who were employees of petitioner, aggrieved by management’s failure to attend to their complaints concerning their working surroundings which had become detrimental and hazardous, requested for a grievance conference. Private respondents lost no time in filing a complaint for illegal dismissal against petitioner with NLRC of NCR. After due trial, Aris (Phils.), Inc. is hereby ordered to reinstate within ten (10) days from receipt private respondents to their former respective positions or any substantial equivalent positions if already filled up, without loss of seniority right and privileges but with limited backwages of six (6) months. Private respondents filed a Motion For Issuance of a Writ of Execution pursuant to Section 12 of R.A. No. 6715. Petitioner and complainants filed their own Appeals.

Petitioner filed an Opposition to the motion for execution alleging that Section 12 of R.A. No. 6715 on execution pending appeal cannot be applied retroactively to cases pending at the time of its effectivity because it does not expressly provide that it shall be given retroactive effect  and to give retroactive effect to Section 12 thereof to pending cases would not only result in the imposition of an additional obligation on petitioner but would also dilute its right to appeal since it would be burdened with the consequences of reinstatement without the benefit of a final judgment.

ISSUE:

Whether or not the provision under Section 12 of R.A. No. 6715 is constitutional.

HELD:

YES. Petition was dismissed for lack of merit. Costs against petitioners.

RATIO:

Presumption against unconstitutionality. The validity of the questioned law is not only supported and sustained by the foregoing considerations. As contended by the Solicitor General, it is a valid exercise of the police power of the State. Certainly, if the right of an employer to freely discharge his employees is subject to regulation by the State, basically in the exercise of its permanent police power on the theory that the preservation of the lives of the citizens is a basic duty of the State, that is more vital than the preservation of corporate profits. Then, by and pursuant to the same power, the State may authorize an immediate implementation, pending appeal, of a decision reinstating a dismissed or separated employee since that saving act is designed to stop, although temporarily since the appeal may be decided in favor of the appellant, a continuing threat or danger to the survival or even the life of the dismissed or separated employee and its family.

Moreover, the questioned interim rules of the NLRC can validly be given retroactive effect. They are procedural or remedial in character, promulgated pursuant to the authority vested upon it under Article 218(a) of the Labor Code of the Philippines, as amended. Settled is the rule that procedural laws may be given retroactive effect. There are no vested rights in rules of procedure. A remedial statute may be made applicable to cases pending at the time of its enactment.

 

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