Court Dismisses Ex-President’s Case Against Philodrill

The Philodrill Corporation (PSE: OV) received a copy of the Decision of the Court of Appeals Fifth Division dismissing the complaint for money claims filed by Francisco A. Navarro for lack of jurisdiction and for lack of merit.

The decision penned by Associate Justice Ma. Luisa C. Quijano-Padilla ruled on the Petition for Certiorari under Rule 65 filed by Philodrill, assailing the December 28, 2017 Decision of the National Labor Relations Commission (NLRC) in NLRC LAC No. 10-003221-17 (NLRC NCR Case No. 02-02562-17) as well as the April 26, 2018 Resolution denying its motion for reconsideration thereof.

The Court agrees with Philodrill’s position that public respondent NLRC has no jurisdiction to entertain Navarro’s case since the matter is not a simple money claim against the employer but is one involving an intra-corporate dispute. Since Navarro was the president of the corporation, therefore a corporate officer, his complaint for the payment of the alleged special retirement benefit is an intra-corporate controversy, and thus falls under the jurisdiction of the Regional Trial Court and not the Labor Tribunals.

Furthermore, the Court also ruled that Navarro’s complaint has no merit for he is not entitled to any special retirement benefit. The claim for special retirement benefit was based only on the marginal note made by the company’s former president in 2014. In the absence of substantial proof that the complainant’s proposal was converted and implemented into a working retirement plan, his claim for special retirement pay is patently without basis.

Considering further that Navarro knowingly and voluntarily signed a Release of Claim in favor of Philodrill stating that he “forever releases the Company from any claim, demand, obligation and/or responsibility of whatever kind or nature,” the Court concludes that there is no concrete basis for his claim for a special retirement benefit.

As such, the December 28, 2017 Decision and April 26, 2018 Resolution of public respondent NLRC in NLRC LAC No. 10-003221-17 (NLRC NCR Case No. 02-02562-17) are reversed and set aside.

Accordingly, private respondent Navarro’s complaint for money claims is hereby dismissed for lack of jurisdiction and for lack of merit.

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