CA upholds labor body: Napoles' dismissal of employees illegal
MANILA, Philippines – The appelate court has upheld the finding of the National Labor Relations Commission (NLRC) that JLN Corporation, the company of alleged pork barrel scam mastermind Janet Lim Napoles, illegally dismissed its employees.
In its August 17 decision, the Court of Appeals Ninth Division dismissed the petition filed by JLN and Napoles against the NLRC, which earlier ruled on a case filed by dismissed employees Mary Arlene B. Baltazar and Marina C. Sula.
“Petitioners’ bare denial of the authenticity of the payslips and IDs presented by private respondents [employees]…cannot prevail over the probative value of these documents and the credence given them by the labor tribunals which had the opportunity of closely scrutinizing them. These documents clearly indicate that private respondents were regular employees of JLN Corporation,” said the ruling penned by Associate Justice Amy Lazaro Javier.
Associate justices Celia Librea Leagogo and Melchor Sadang concurred.
Baltazar and Sula are among the witnesses in the graft and plunder cases against JLN and several individuals charged over the pork barrel fund scam.
The NLRC ordered JLN and Napoles on February 27 to pay Sula and Baltazar their separation pay, backwages, and unpaid salaries. They were also told to pay the complainants 10% of the judgment award as attorney’s fees.
“After a judicious evaluation of the petition and its attachments, including the assailed issuances, this court finds and so holds that the NLRC acted in accordance with law and evidence in finding that private respondents (employees) were illegally dismissed, and ordering payment of their separation pay, backwages, and unpaid salaries,” the ruling said.
The CA said that even if Napoles named Sula president of a non-governmental organization, that did not mean she was no longer an employee of JLN.
In fact, the court said, it was Napoles who allegedly schemed to make it appear on paper that Sula had quit JLN “to pave the way to her assumption of the presidency of Masaganang Ani Para sa Magsasaka Foundation Incorporated (MAPMFI), also on paper.”
“Since this arrangement was only good on paper, Sula continued to work as JLN Corporation’s employee, performing the same tasks she did in the past. She also continued to receive her salary as JLN’s [finance clerk],” the CA noted. – Rappler.com