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Digest: Fortune Garments v. Castro (478 SCRA 125, 2005)

Digest: Fortune Garments v. Castro (478 SCRA 125, 2005)


        Assailed before the Court on Petition for Review on Certiorariis the Decision1 of the Court of Appeals (CA) in CA-G.R. SP No. 56153 granting the petition of Elena J. Castro and nullifying the rulings of the Labor Arbiter and the National Labor Relations Commission (NLRC).

Then 58-year old Elena J. Castro was employed as a sewer by the Fortuny Garments Corporation sometime in 1985. Petitioner Johnny Co was then its president. Elena was paid her salaries and other emoluments for the period up to December 21, 1996.

On December 16, 1996, Elena's daughter gave birth by caesarian operation. Since nobody would take care of her daughter, she then went on leave of absence.

When Elena reported to work on December 23, 1996, Elsa Co, co-manager of the company and wife of petitioner, told her that she had to stop working because "she was already old." Elena insisted that she could still work and perform her duties despite her age. She was told, this time, that she was already dismissed because of her failure to report for work for several days after her leave of absence. Nevertheless, Elena reported for work during the first week of January 1997, only to be informed again that she had already been dismissed.

Elena forthwith filed a complaint against the corporation and Johnny Co, for illegal dismissal and payment of monetary benefits inclusive of unpaid overtime pay.

For his part, the petitioner averred that the complainant was not dismissed but that she resigned voluntarily, as evidenced by a cash voucher dated January 30, 1996.

By way of reply, the complainant alleged that sometime in 1995, she and her co-workers were made to sign blank vouchers, allegedly as proof that their employer had paid their Social Security Service (SSS) premiums. She insisted that she could not have resigned on January 30, 1996 because she was still working for the corporation up to December 23, 1996 when she was illegally dismissed.  She did not receive a centavo from the petitioner by way of separation pay, salary, allowance, bonus or overtime pay.

On December 21, 1998, the Labor Arbiter rendered judgment ordering the dismissal of the complaint, holding that Elena had voluntarily resigned.

Issue: Whether Elena is deemed resigned

Ruling: No. Resignation is the voluntary act of an employee who is in a situation where one believes that personal reasons cannot be sacrificed in favor of the exigency of the service, and has no other choice but to dissociate from employment. Resignation is a formal pronouncement or relinquishment of an office, and must be made with the intention of relinquishing the office accompanied by the act of relinquishment. A resignation must be unconditional and with the intent to operate as such.15

Moreover, the intention to relinquish an office must concur with the overt act of relinquishment. The act of the employee before and after the alleged resignation must be considered to determine whether in fact, he or she intended to relinquish such employment. If the employer introduces evidence purportedly executed by an employee as proof of voluntary resignation and the employee specifically denies the authenticity and due execution of said document, the employer is burdened to prove the due execution and genuineness of such document.

In the present case, no less than the petitioner adduced documentary evidence consisting of payrolls showing that the respondent reported for work and received her salary/wages up to December 21, 1996, or shortly before she went on leave of absence after her daughter gave birth on December 23, 1996. Based on the petitioner's documentary evidence itself, the respondent did not resign


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