THREE employees who were dismissed in 2011 by Benguet Pine Tourist Inn (BPTI) have yet to get their compensation for illegal dismissal, years after the Supreme Court (SC) in 2020 upheld the decisions of lower courts that the dismissal was illegal and must be compensated.
Computations done in 2021 by the National Labor Relations Commission (NLRC) indicate that the three employees – Josephine P. Piñera, Yolanda A. Calanza and Leonora P. Songalia – are entitled to P4.02 million in separation pay and full backwages.
The NLRC was reported to be targeting some assets of the University of Manila (UM), which owns and manages BPTI, to enforce its ruling.
The original decision by the Court of Appeals (CA) in 2015 said that the dismissal of the three was a result of “legal bickering” between the former general manager of UM and the university’s president. The three were supposedly dismissed after challenging their transfer from Manila to Benguet, as well as due to their loyalty to the previous administration of the university.
Calanza was hired in 1984, Piñera in 1993 and Songalia in 1999. When dismissed in 2011, the three filed cases before the NLRC.
The first decision, made in March of 2012, declared the three were illegally dismissed and directed the UM to pay them some P863,422. The UM appealed the decision, whereupon the NLRC reversed the labor arbiter’s decision as it declared that only Calanza was entitled to P10,000 in nominal damages for failure of the university to serve the notice of dismissal as required by law. NLRC ruled that Piñera and Songalia failed to prove the fact of their dismissal.
The three then elevated their case to the CA, which affirmed the first March 2012 order, denying a motion for reconsideration from the UM. UM then challenged the decision before the SC, which ruled in favor of the three employees.
The UM also challenged the recomputation of separation pay and full backwages worth P4.02 million before the CA, which denied their petition and affirmed the recomputed payment due in 2022.