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SC affirms ruling vs P8.5-B back pay for Napocor employees

MANILA, Philippines –  The Supreme Court (SC) unanimously affirmed with finality its decision to junk the petition of National Power Corporation (Napocor) employees to collect P8.5 billion in back pay.

The SC en banc denied the motion for reconsideration filed by the National Power Corporation Employees Consolidated Union (NECU) and the president of the National Power Corporation Employees and Workers Union (NEWU) seeking the reversal of its  February 2017 decision.

The February decision denied the petition that sought back pay for 16,500 Napocor employees amounting to P8.5 billion of additional Cost of Living Allowance (COLA) and Amelioration Allowance (AA) from July 1, 1989 to March 16, 1999.

“Wherefore, the 16,500 Workers’ Solicitous Motion for Reconsideration is DENIED with FINALITY as the basic issues have already been passed upon in this Court's February 7, 2017 Decision. No further pleadings or motions shall be entertained in this case. Let entry of final judgment be issued immediately,” the SC said.

In a 13-page resolution penned by Associate Justice Marvic Leonen, the SC set aside the decision of the Regional Trial Court of Quezon City which granted NECU and NEWU’s petition for mandamus seeking to  direct the Napocor, its president, board to release the back pay to the employees.

The magistrates said the employees failed to raise new issues that could convince them to reverse the ruling.

In their MR, Napocor employees cited law, jurisprudence, and evidence to support their contention that their COLA and AA were deducted from their salaries from July 1, 1989, to March 19, 1999.

In its ruling, the SC said that the petitioners failed to submit to court any pay slip or Notice of Position Allocation and Salary Adjustment showing an actual deduction of the COLA and AA during the concerned period.

“As it stands, respondents NECU and NEWU have failed to prove that their COLA and AA were factually deducted from their basic pay,” the SC said.

“Respondents NECU and NEWU attempt to sway this Court by insisting that those hired after Republic Act No. 6758 took effect have never received their COLA and AA and that these allowances were deducted from their basic pay. This issue, however, has already been discussed and passed upon in this Court's February 7, 2017 Decision,” it added.

In its February 2017 ruling, the SC said the trial court “should have been more prudent in granting the immediate execution, considering that the execution of the judgment award involves the payment of almost P8.5 billion in public funds.”

The SC also ruled that COLA and AA of the employees were integrated with the salaries of the employees, after the promulgation of Republic Act 6758 or the Compensation and Position Classification Act of 1989, which standardizes compensation and benefits of public employees, effective July 1, 1989.

The law applied to all positions, whether appointive or elective, including those in government-owned and -controlled corporations.

RA 6758 also provides that all allowances and other additional compensation not otherwise stated "shall be deemed included" in the prescribed standardized salary rates.

NECU and NEWU had insisted that their COLA and AA from July 1, 1989, to December 31, 1993, were not factually integrated into their standardized salaries. – Rappler.com