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Philtranco Service Enterprises. v.

Philtranco Workers Union- whose business is imbued with public interest required that the Secretary of
Association of Genuine Labor Organizations Labor assume jurisdiction over the case. By assuming jurisdiction, Art. 263
February 26, 2014 | Del Castillo, J. becomes applicable, any representation to the contrary or that he is deciding the
By: Kat case in his capacity as a voluntary arbitrator notwithstanding.

SUMMARY: It has long been settled that the remedy of an aggrieved party in a decision or
A case between Philtranco and the union that failed at the conciliator-mediator level was resolution of the Secretary of Labor is to timely file MR as a precondition for any
referred to the DOLE Secretary. He ruled in favor of the union, so Philtranco filed MR and further or subsequent remedy, and then seasonably file a special civil action for
then certiorari. Secretary said nope, should have been Rule 43, not Rule 65. certiorari under Rule 65. There is no distinction: when the Secretary of Labor
assumes jurisdiction over a labor case in an industry indispensable to national
DOCTRINE: interest, "he exercises great breadth of discretion" in finding a solution to the
MR from a decision or resolution of the Secretary, then seasonably file certiorari parties’ dispute. Such authority to assume jurisdiction includes and extends to all
within 60 days from denial of the MR. It cannot be said that in taking cognizance questions and controversies arising therefrom. The power is plenary and
of the case, the Secretary did so in a limited capacity. By referring the case to the discretionary in nature to enable him to effectively and efficiently dispose of the
Secretary, the Conciliator-Mediator conceded that the case fell within the primary dispute.
coverage of Art. 263.
National Federation of Labor v. Laguesma: Though appeals from the NLRC to the
FACTS: Secretary of Labor were eliminated, there are several instances in the Labor Code
Due to business losses, Philtranco, a local land transportation company engaged and its IRR where an appeal can be filed with the Secretary or the Secretary
in the business of carrying passengers and freight, retrenched 21 of its issues a ruling, including Art. 263. Though the decisions of the Secretary become
employees. The union then filed a notice of strike with the DOLE, claiming that final and executory 10 days after receipt, they can still be certiorari'd even
Philtranco engaged in ULP. They were unable to settle their differences at the beyond that period as long as it is within the reglementary period under Rule 65.
preliminary conference before Conciliator-Mediator Aglibut of the NCMB. The It is procedurally feasible as well as practicable that Rule 65 petitions be filed
case was then referred to the Office of the Secretary of the DOLE. Acting DOLE initially with the CA (St. Martin Funeral Homes v. NLRC). The 60 days should be
Secretary Danilo Cruz issued a decision ordering Philtranco to reinstate the counted from the notice of the denial of the motion. The very nature of certiorari
illegally terminated 17 union officers and pay them backwages, maintain the – which is an extraordinary remedy resorted to only in the absence of plain,
status quo and remit the withheld union dues to the union. available, speedy and adequate remedies in the course of law – requires that the
office issuing the decision or order be given the opportunity to correct itself.
Philtranco MR'd after receiving the decision, while the union submitted a partial
appeal. The Secretary cited a DOLE Regulation providing that voluntary Before certiorari under Rule 65, filing MR is a condition sine qua non to afford an
arbitrators' decisions, orders, resolutions or awards shall not be the subject of opportunity for the correction of the error or mistake. Considering that a
MRs. Philtranco went to the CA, which held that Philtranco erred in filing a Rule decision of the Secretary of Labor is subject to judicial review only through a
65 because it should have filed a petition for review under Rule 43, which special civil action of certiorari and cannot be resorted to without the aggrieved
covers decisions of voluntary labor arbitrators. Assuming Rule 65 was the party having exhausted administrative remedies through MR, the aggrieved
proper remedy, the petition was filed out of time because the MR did not toll the party, must be allowed to move for a reconsideration of the same.
running of the reglementary 60-day period within which to avail of certiorari.
While a government office may prohibit altogether the filing of MR with respect
ISSUES/HELD: to its decisions or orders, the fact remains that certiorari inherently requires the
What is the proper remedy to assail the DOLE Acting Secretary's decision? filing of a motion for reconsideration, which is the tangible representation of the
(CERTIORARI AFTER YOUR MR) opportunity given to the office to correct itself. Unless it is filed, there could be no
occasion to rectify. Worse, the remedy of certiorari would be unavailing. Having
RATIO: filed the MR on June 25 after receiving the Acting Secretary's decision on June 14,
It cannot be said that in taking cognizance of the case, the Secretary did so in a it was timely filed but denied. The decision denyingt he MR was received on
limited capacity (as a voluntary arbitrator). By referring the case to the August 17 and the certiorari was filed on August 29, well within the 60-day
Secretary, the Conciliator-Mediator conceded that the case fell within the period.
coverage of Art. 263. The impending strike in a public transportation company