Republic of the Philippines
G.R. No. 87676 December 20, 1989
REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES, represented by the NATIONAL PARKS DEVELOPMENT COMMITTEE, petitioner,
THE HON. COURT OF APPEALS and THE NATIONAL PARKS DEVELOPMENT SUPERVISORY ASSOCIATION & THEIR MEMBERS, respondents.
Bienvenido D. Comia for respondents.
The Regional Trial Court of Manila, Branch III, dismissed for lack of jurisdiction, the petitioner's complaint in Civil Case No. 88- 44048 praying for a declaration of illegality of the strike of the private respondents and to restrain the same. The Court of Appeals denied the petitioner's petition for certiorari, hence, this petition for review.
The key issue in this case is whether the petitioner, National Parks Development Committee (NPDC), is a government agency, or a private corporation, for on this issue depends the right of its employees to strike.
This issue came about because although the NPDC was originally created in 1963 under Executive Order No. 30, as the Executive Committee for the development of the Quezon Memorial, Luneta and other national parks, and later renamed as the National Parks Development Committee under Executive Order No. 68, on September 21, 1967, it was registered in the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) as a non-stock and non-profit corporation, known as "The National Parks Development Committee, Inc."
However, in August, 1987, the NPDC was ordered by the SEC to show cause why its Certificate of Registration should not be suspended for: (a) failure to submit the General Information Sheet from 1981 to 1987; (b) failure to submit its Financial Statements from 1981 to 1986; (c) failure to register its Corporate Books; and (d) failure to operate for a continuous period of at least five (5) years since September 27, 1967.
On August 18, 1987, the NPDC Chairman, Amado Lansang, Jr., informed SEC that his Office had no objection to the suspension, cancellation, or revocation of the Certificate of Registration of NPDC.
By virtue of Executive Order No. 120 dated January 30, 1989, the NPDC was attached to the Ministry (later Department) of Tourism and provided with a separate budget subject to audit by the Commission on Audit.
On September 10, 1987, the Civil Service Commission notified NPDC that pursuant to Executive Order No. 120, all appointments and other personnel actions shall be submitted through the Commission.
Meanwhile, the Rizal Park Supervisory Employees Association, consisting of employees holding supervisory positions in the different areas of the parks, was organized and it affiliated with the Trade Union of the Philippines and Allied Services (TUPAS) under Certificate No. 1206.
On June 15, 1987, two collective bargaining agreements were entered into between NPDC and NPDCEA (TUPAS local Chapter No. 967) and NPDC and NPDCSA (TUPAS Chapter No. 1206), for a period of two years or until June 30, 1989.
On March 20, 1988, these unions staged a stake at the Rizal Park, Fort Santiago, Paco Park, and Pook ni Mariang Makiling at Los Banos, Laguna, alleging unfair labor practices by NPDC.
On March 21, 1988, NPDC filed in the Regional Trial Court in Manila, Branch III, a complaint against the union to declare the strike illegal and to restrain it on the ground that the strikers, being government employees, have no right to strike although they may form a union.
On March 24, 1988, the lower court dismissed the complaint and lifted the restraining order for lack of jurisdiction. It held that the case "properly falls under the jurisdiction of the Department of Labor," because "there exists an employer-employee relationship" between NPDC and the strikers, and "that the acts complained of in the complaint, and which plaintiff seeks to enjoin in this action, fall under paragraph 5 of Article 217 of the Labor Code, ..., in relation to Art. 265 of the same Code, hence, jurisdiction over said acts does not belong to this Court but to the Labor Arbiters of the Department of Labor." (p. 142, Rollo.).
Petitioner went to the Court of Appeals on certiorari (CA-G.R. SP No. 14204). On March 31, 1989, the Court of appeals affirmed the order of the trial court, hence, this petition for review. The petitioner alleges that the Court of Appeals erred:
1) in not holding that the NPDC employees are covered by the Civil Service Law; and
2) in ruling that petitioner's labor dispute with its employees is cognizable by the Department of Labor.
We have considered the petition filed by the Solicitor General on behalf of NPDC and the comments thereto and are persuaded that it is meritorious.
In Jesus P. Perlas, Jr. vs. People of the Philippines, G.R. Nos. 84637-39, August 2, 1989, we ruled that the NPDC is an agency of the government, not a government-owned or controlled corporation, hence, the Sandiganbayan had jurisdiction over its acting director who committed estafa. We held thus:
The National Parks Development Committee was created originally as an Executive Committee on January 14,1963, for the development of the Quezon Memorial, Luneta and other national parks (Executive Order No. 30). It was later designated as the National Parks Development Committee (NPDC) on February 7, 1974 (E.O. No. 69). On January 9, 1966, Mrs. Imelda R. Marcos and Teodoro F. Valencia were designated Chairman and Vice- Chairman respectively (E.O. No. 3). Despite an attempt to transfer it to the Bureau of Forest Development, Department of Natural Resources, on December 1, 1975 (Letter of Implementation No. 39, issued pursuant to PD No. 830, dated November 27, 1975), the NPDC has remained under the Office of the President (E.O. No. 709, dated July 27, 1981).
Since 1977 to 1981, the annual appropriations decrees listed NPDC as a regular government agency under the Office of the President and allotments for its maintenance and operating expenses were issued direct to NPDC (Exh. 10-A Perlas, Item No. 2, 3). (Italics ours.)
Since NPDC is a government agency, its employees are covered by civil service rules and regulations (Sec. 2, Article IX, 1987 Constitution). Its employees are civil service employees (Sec. 14, Executive Order No. 180).
While NPDC employees are allowed under the 1987 Constitution to organize and join unions of their choice, there is as yet no law permitting them to strike. In case of a labor dispute between the employees and the government, Section 15 of Executive Order No. 180 dated June 1, 1987 provides that the Public Sector Labor- Management Council, not the Department of Labor and Employment, shall hear the dispute. Clearly, the Court of Appeals and the lower court erred in holding that the labor dispute between the NPDC and the members of the NPDSA is cognizable by the Department of Labor and Employment.
WHEREFORE, the petition for review is granted. The decision of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. SP No. 14204 is hereby set aside. The private respondents' complaint should be filed in the Public Sector Labor-Management Council as provided in Section 15 of Executive Order No. 180. Costs against the private respondents.
Narvasa, Cruz, Gancayco and Medialdea, JJ., concur.
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