BAGUIO CITY – The 6th Division of the Court of Appeals (CA) put to an end the 5-year labor feud between the business partners of Rumuors Bar Co as it dismissed the petition for review filed by the aggrieved party that sought to question the earlier decision of the National Labor Relations Commission (NLRC) for lack of merit.
In a 9 page, Associate Justices Francisco Acosta, Jose C. Reyes, Jr. and Eduardo B. Peralta, Jr. denied the petition for review filed by Alejandro Singian, Jr. against the NLRC, Rumuors Bar Co. one of the most popular nightspots along Session Road, and Dennis F. Pilones and affirmed in toto the NLRC rulings relative to the so-called labor dispute within their midst.
Earlier, Singian contended that the NLRC committed grave abuse of discretion in ruling that there was no employer-employee relationship between him and Pilones and averred that Pilones was not his co-partner in the business but his employer or superior considering that the latter was giving him orders.
The CA ruled that there was no employer-employee relationship between Singian and Pilones since the former was not hired by the latter as there are no records that will show that Singian applied for his position nor was it established by Singian how he was selected by Pilones.
Further, the CA ruled there is nothing in the records which prove that an employment contract was indeed forged by the feuding parties.
However, the CA cited there were several documentary evidence that disclose that Singian acknowledged himself as the owner of the establishment. Besides, records showed the notarized articles of partnership which among others stated that Singian and Pilones are indeed partners or Rumuors Bar.
Likewise, the CA stated the available documents showed that Singian and Pilones contributed P15,000 each to come up with the capital of the said partnership.
Moreover, the CA used the registration data sheet to dismiss the case since the one filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) clearly showed that Singian is registered is one of the partners of the establishment.
Ironically, Singian failed to show through any documents such as pay slips or vouchers that his salaries during that time that he allegedly worked for the company were paid by Pilones and that he was only able to present a single document which purportedly stated that he was paid P10,080 for the period June 1-15, 2011.
“With this document alone, this court cannot appreciate the existence of employment relationship between the parties,” the decision added.
The CA cited there is also no evidence on record which proves that Singian’s supposed employment was terminated by Pilones whether for a valid cause or not, thus, Singian failed to convince the CA that Pilones dismissed his employment based on the grounds provided by law.
“What is clear from the recorded evidence is the fact that in view of the severance of their romantic relationship, which turned out to be scandalously violent, respondent decided to dissolve the partnership,” the CA added.
Finally, the CA noted that in his effort to prove the presence of one of the elements of employee-employer relationship, which is the power of control, Singian presented several electronic mail conversations between the parties but sadly, the CA did not find any evidence therein which proves that Ilones exercised control over Singian’s conduct or performance of his job.
The decision stated that what was evident in the emails were correspondence of business partners, who were at the same time intimately or romantically involved with each other. Interestingly, the CA noted some of the emails presented were sent by Pilones during the period when they have yet to takeover the business, thus, it was imperative for Singian to initiate the planning of operations of the business not as, delineating the functions of the people who were supposed to be involved in the management of the bar.
The CA asserted in the absence of an employee-employer relationship between Singian and Pilones, the former could not successfully claim that he was dismissed, much less illegally dismissed by the latter, thus, there is no error in the labor arbiter’s conclusion that was correctly affirmed by the NLRC.
Singian narrated that the bar was acquired by Pilones from a certain Carmen Coromina on November 7, 2005 and allowed the latter to operate the same under an agreement until Pilones decided to take over its operations that at that time, he was based in the United States as a nurse so that in achieving his goal to operate the bar, he frequently communicated with him through emails so that on May 16, 2006, his email included his job description.
By Dexter A. See