Yellow Bus Lines Employees Union (YBLEU) vs. Yellow Bus Lines, Inc. (YBLI) G.R. No. 190876, June 15, 2016


Petitioners Gardonia and Querol were hired as drivers by Yellow Bus Lines (YBL). Gardonia’s bus bumped into a motorcycle while trying to overtake it. The collision resulted in the death of the motorcycle driver and his passenger. YBL shouldered the hospitalization bills amounting to P290,426.91 and paid P135,000.00 as settlement of the claim of the heirs of the motorcycle riders.

Three (3) months later, the bus that Querol was driving suffered a mechanical breakdown. A mechanic and a towing truck arrived to pick up Querol. He was ordered by the mechanic to drive the bus while the towing truck would trail behind. Querol was apparently driving too fast and he rammed the bus into a sugar plantation. YBL conducted separate hearings on the two incidents. Thereafter, Gardonia and Querol were found to be negligent. Termination letters were sent to them.

Yellow Bus Line Employees Union (Union), representing its members Gardonia and Querol, filed a complaint for illegal dismissal against YBL through the grievance machinery, as stipulated in their Collective Bargaining Agreement. The Union and YBL failed to resolve their dispute, thus the case was elevated to the National Conciliation and Mediation Board (NCMB). During the initial conference, YBL’ s representative allegedly agreed to reinstate Gardonia and Querol. The management of YBL however refused to abide by the said agreement. Thus, another conference was conducted in order for the parties to resolve their dispute but no agreement was reached.

VA Ruling:

The Panel of Accredited Voluntary Arbitrators (Panel) found that Gardonia and Quero! were illegally dismissed and ordered their reinstatement. The Panel also ruled that the parties already arrived at a compromise agreement during the initial conference with respect to the reinstatement of the drivers. Thus, this agreement is final and binding on the parties pursuant to Article 227 of the Labor Code, which provides that “any compromise settlement, including those involving labor standard laws, voluntarily agreed upon by the parties with the assistance of the Bureau or the regional office of the Department of Labor, shall be final and binding upon the parties.” YBL filed a motion for reconsideration but it was informed by the Panel that its decision is not subject to reconsideration in accordance with the Revised Procedural Guidelines in the Conduct of Voluntary Arbitration Proceedings.

Thus, YBL filed a petition for certiorari to the CA.

CA Ruling:

The CA ruled in favor of YBL.

The Court of Appeals held that Article 227 of the Labor Code is not applicable in this case. Instead, the case falls under Articles 260, 261, 262-A and 262-B because it involves the grievance machinery and voluntary arbitration. Second, the Court of Appeals found that no compromise settlement was actually reached because a second round of conference had to be conducted in the NCMB office. Third, Norlan Yap, the representative of YBL, had no authority to enter into a compromise. Fourth, the Court of Appeals reversed the findings of the Panel with respect to the cause of the drivers’ dismissal. The Court of Appeals found that the accidents were not caused by force majeure, rather they were brought about by the negligence of the drivers. The Union filed a motion for reconsideration but it was denied. Thus, the petition.


  1. Whether or not the dismissal was valid
  2. Whether or not there was valid compromise agreement

SC Ruling:

The SC held that the parties expressly agreed to submit the case to the voluntary arbitration when they still failed to reach a settlement. The Union should not have agreed and stood its ground if it believed that a compromise agreement had already been struck during the conciliation conference. By acquiescing to the referral to voluntary arbitration, the Union is now estopped from asserting that there was a settlement at conciliation level.

There is nothing in the records which would support the Panel’s conclusion that the drivers were driving at a moderate speed at that time when the accident happened, and that it was caused by force majeure. In the case of Gardonia, he admitted that he was overtaking the motorcycle on its left when said motorcycle suddenly negotiated a left tum on the intersection causing the bus to hit the motorcycle. Gardonia claimed that he blew his horn when he tried to overtake the said motorcycle.

Before hitting the motorcycle, Gardonia stated that he tried to apply the brakes and swerved the steering wheel to the left, but it was too late. On the other hand, the bus conductor, who was traveling with Gardonia, insisted that the motorcyle was running slowly and was about to go to the left side of the road near the intersection when it was hit by the bus. The bus conductor established the fault of Gardonia. Gardonia already saw that the motorcycle was swerving to the left. Both the bus, with the motorcycle ahead, were nearing an intersection. It is evidently wrong for Gardonia to proceed in the attempt to overtake the motorcycle. Section 41 (c), 14 Article II of Republic Act No. 4136 prohibits the overtaking by another vehicle at any intersection of the highway. Gardonia also admitted to driving at a speed of 60-70 kilometers per hour.

It is reasonable to assume that he accelerated his speed while overtaking the motorcycle. Thus he did find it difficult to apply his brakes or make last-minute maneuvers to avoid hitting the motorcycle. Clearly, it was Gardonia’s act of negligence which proximately caused the accident, and so he was dismissed by YBL on the ground of reckless imprudence resulting in homicide and damage to property.

Anent Querol, he claimed that a bicycle suddenly emerged from the left side of the road and crossed the highway, causing him to swerve his steering wheel to the left. The bus rammed into a sugar plantation. On the contrary, the mechanic of the bus and the driver of the tow truck both asserted that they saw Querol driving the bus too fast.

When they caught up with him, Querol ‘s bus was already in the sugar plantation. The version of the mechanic and the tow truck driver was not refuted. Querol was driving recklessly despite the fact that said bus was newly repaired. YBL also conducted its ocular inspection of the area and found that there was no road crossing at the scene of the incident which contradicts Querol’s statement that a bicycle suddenly crossed the highway. Moreover, it was revealed that the bus was found in the sugar plantation at a distance of 60 meters from the highway. This proved that the bus was running very fast. The accident is evidently caused by Querol.

Article 282 of the Labor Code provides that one of the just causes for terminating an employment is the employee’s gross and habitual neglect of his    duties. This cause includes gross inefficiency, negligence and carelessness. Gross negligence connotes want or absence of or failure to exercise slight care or diligence, or the entire absence of care. It evinces a thoughtless disregard of consequences without exerting any effort to avoid them. Indeed, Gardonia and Querol were both negligent in operating the bus causing death and damages to property. The SC upheld their dismissal.


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