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Marlon Butial Agapito v. Aeroplus Multi-Services, Inc. and Mitzi Therese P. De Guzman

Marlon Agapito (Agapito) was employed by Aeroplus Multi-Services (Aeroplus) as a housekeeper.

During a meeting, Agapito asked his immediate supervisor George Constantino (Constantino) about the unfair treatment he was getting in relation to his tardiness. Constantino, already irate, uttered, “Masyado kang ma-reklamo, kung ayaw niyo ang patakaran ko lumayas ka dito!”

When Agapito reported this incident to Aeroplus’ personnel office, Constantino found out about it and gave him a letter memorandum for insubordination. Agapito was later suspended for 2 weeks.

When Agapito reported back to work, Darrel Mendoza (Mendoza), Aeroplus’ OIC-Personnel, told him, “Wala na tiwala sayo ang Management kaya tanggal ka na!”

When Agapito asked for an explanation, Mendoza shot back with, “Basta tanggal ka na!”

Consequently, Agapito Filed with the NLRC a complaint for illegal dismissal, illegal suspension, and money claims. He argues that:

  1. He was initially suspended and subsequently dismissed without just cause and due process;
  2. Aeroplus did not have any grounds to terminate him the LC;
  3. Aeroplus did not comply with the twin notice requirement for a valid dismissal; and
  4. He is entitled to separation pay, 13th Month Pay, Service Incentive Leave, Reimbursement of Cash Bond, Attorney’s Fees, Moral and Exemplary Damages

LA: Aeroplus liable for illegal dismissal

The statements of Aeroplus’ OIC-Personnel Mendoza — “Wala na tiwala sayo ang Management kaya tanggal ka na!” and “Basta tanggal ka na!” followed by his directive for petitioner to get out of the office leave no doubt that petitioner was indeed dismissed outright without due process.

NLRC: Reversed; uttered words do not constituted termination
CA: Affirmed NLRC

Did the words Constantino and Mendoza utter amounted to illegal dismissal?

YES. In illegal dismissal cases, before the employer must bear the burden of proving that the dismissal was legal, the employee must first establish by substantial evidence the fact of his dismissal from service.

Here, Agapito categorically recounted that Aeroplus OIC-Personnel Mendoza said “Wala na tiwala sayo ang Management kaya tanggal ka na!” and “Basta tanggal ka na!,” immediately followed by an unequivocal order for petitioners to get out of the office, speak for themselves. It was an outright termination of employment without just cause and due process.

Accordingly, Aeroplus Multi-Services, Inc. is found liable for the illegal dismissal of Agapito and was ordered to pay backwages, separation pay, SIL, and damages.

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