G.R. No. 175366 : August 11, 2008
J-PHIL MARINE, INC. and/or JESUS CANDAVA and NORMAN SHIPPING SERVICES, petitioners, v. NATIONAL LABOR RELATIONS COMMISSION and WARLITO E. DUMALAOG, Respondents. D E C I S I O N
CARPIO MORALES, J.:
Warlito E. Dumalaog (respondent), who served as cook aboard vessels plying overseas, filed on March 4, 2002 before the National Labor Relations Commission (NLRC) a pro-forma complaint1 against petitioners ─ manning agency J-Phil Marine, Inc. (J-Phil), its then president Jesus Candava, and its foreign principal Norman Shipping Services ─ for unpaid money claims, moral and exemplary damages, and attorney's fees. Respondent thereafter filed two amended pro forma complaints2 praying for the award of overtime pay, vacation leave pay, sick leave pay, and disability/medical benefits, he having, by his claim, contracted enlargement of the heart and severe thyroid enlargement in the discharge of his duties as cook which rendered him disabled. Respondent's total claim against petitioners was P864,343.30 plus P117,557.60 representing interest and P195,928.66 representing attorney's fees.3 cra By Decision4 of August 29, 2003, Labor Arbiter Fe Superiaso-Cellan dismissed respondent's complaint for lack of merit. On appeal,5 the NLRC, by Decision of September 27, 2004, reversed the Labor Arbiter's decision and awarded US$50,000.00 disability benefit to respondent. It dismissed respondent's other claims, however, for lack of basis or jurisdiction.6 Petitioners' Motion for Reconsideration7 having been denied by the NLRC,8 they filed a petition for certiorari 9 before the Court of Appeals. By Resolution10 of September 22, 2005, the Court of Appeals dismissed petitioners' petition for, inter alia, failure to attach to the petition all material documents, and for defective verification and certification. Petitioners' Motion for Reconsideration of the appellate court's Resolution was denied;11 hence, they filed the present Petition for Review on Certiorari . During the pendency of the case before this Court, respondent, against the advice of his counsel, entered into a compromise agreement with petitioners. He thereupon signed a Quitclaim and Release subscribed and sworn to before the Labor Arbiter.12 cra On May 8, 2007, petitioners filed before this Court a Manifestation13 dated May 7, 2007 informing that, inter alia, they and respondent had forged an amicable settlement. On July 2, 2007, respondent's counsel filed before this Court a Comment and Opposition (to Petitioners' Manifestation of May 7, 2007)14 interposing no objection to the dismissal of the petition but objecting to "the absolution" of petitioners from paying respondent the total amount of Fifty Thousand US Dollars (US$50,000.00) or approximately P2,300,000.00, the amount awarded by the NLRC, he adding that: There being already a payment of P450,000.00, and invoking the doctrine of parens patriae, we pray then [to] this Honorable Supreme Court that the said amount be deducted from the [NLRC] judgment award of US$50,000.00, or approximately P2,300,000.00, and petitioners be furthermore ordered to pay in favor of herein respondent [the] remaining balance thereof. x x x x15 (Emphasis in the original; underscoring supplied) Respondent's counsel also filed before this Court, purportedly on behalf of respondent, a Comment16 on the present petition. The parties having forged a compromise agreement as respondent in fact has executed a Quitclaim and Release, the Court dismisses the petition. Article 227 of the Labor Code provides:
Any compromise settlement, including those involving labor standard laws, voluntarily agreed upon by the parties with the assistance of the Department of Labor, shall be final and binding upon the parties. The National Labor Relations Commission or any court shall not assume...