Almirante: Motion for reconsideration

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By Dominador Almirante

Labor case Digest

Friday, January 31, 2014

RESPONDENT Mary Sheila Arcobillas filed a complaint for illegal dismissal with money claims against petitioner Philippine National Bank (PNB) and its senior manager and senior vice-president.

The National Labor Relations Commission (NLRC), in a decision promulgated on Aug. 31, 2004, affirmed the decision of the labor arbiter awarding respondent P621,252.19 with modification. PNB received a copy of the decision on Oct. 14, 2004.

Without filing a motion for reconsideration, PNB on the same date filed a motion for extension of time to file a petition for certiorari before the Court of Appeals (CA) until Dec. 23, 2004. On May 25, 2005, the NLRC issued an entry of final judgment declaring its Aug. 31, 2004 decision final and executory as of Oct. 19, 2004. Despite the non-filing, the CA took cognizance of the petition. Did the CA err?


The Supreme Court ruling: Yes.

The Court recognizes that “the finality of the NLRC’s decision does not preclude the filing of a petition for certiorari under Rule 65 of the Rules of Court. That the NLRC issues an entry of judgment after the lapse of 10 days from the parties’ receipt of its decision will only give rise to the prevailing party’s right to move for the execution thereof but will not prevent the CA from taking cognizance of a petition for certiorari on jurisdictional and due process considerations.”

However, it is a well-established rule that “a motion for reconsideration is an indispensable condition before an aggrieved party can resort to the special civil action for certiorari x xx. The rationale for the rule is that the law intends to afford the NLRC an opportunity to rectify such errors or mistakes it may have committed before resort to courts of justice can be had. x x x

Despite this, the CA still took cognizance of PNB’s petition for certiorari and ignored this significant flaw. It bears to stress that the filing of a motion for reconsideration is not a mere technicality of procedure. It is a jurisdictional and mandatory requirement which must be strictly complied with.

Thus, PNB’s “failure to file a motion for reconsideration with the NLRC before availing itself of the special civil action for certiorari is a fatal infirmity.”

In view thereof, the CA erred in entertaining the petition for certiorari filed before it. It follows, therefore, that the proceedings before it and its assailed decision are considered null and void.

Hence, the final and executory Decision of the NLRC dated Aug. 31, 2004 stands.

(Philippine National Bank vs. Mary Sheila Arcobillas, G.R. No. 179648 Aug. 07, 2013).

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on February 01, 2014.


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