Reglementary period to file petition for certiorari before the Court of Appeals (CA) is 60 days. This is subject to very limited exceptions allowing extension of the period.

Angelito N. Gabriel vs. Petron Corporation, et al.
G.R. No. 194575, April 11, 2018


Angelito Gabriel (Gabriel) was hired by Petron Corporation (Petron) as Maintenance Technician sometime in May 1987. Owing to his years of service and continued education, Gabriel rose from the ranks and eventually became a Quality Management Systems (QMS) Coordinator on 18 October 2004.

However, Gabriel did not get any increase in his salary or any additional benefits despite his new position in the company. Gabriel lamented that he was unable to reap the benefits of his promotion because of a complaint letter filed by Ms. Charina Quiwa (Quiwa), goddaughter of Alfred A. Trio (Trio), the General Manager of the Refining Division in Limay, Bataan. As a result, Gabriel was given notice to explain his side, though the notice failed to include the letter of Quiwa. Nevertheless, Gabriel denied harassing Quiwa and her family, and explained he had already settled the misunderstanding in confidence.

According to his complaint, Gabriel thereafter suffered a series of harassment acts from private respondents as the company interpreted all his acts as violations of its rules and regulations. Hence, Gabriel claimed that he was constructively dismissed from Petron.

Eventually, the investigation on Gabriel was concluded and he was formally charged with dishonesty, misconduct, misbehavior, and violation of “netiquette” policy, wherein he was required to justify why he should not be terminated. Gabriel complied through a letter dated 30 March 2005, wherein he stressed that he had been placed in an unbearable and humiliating situation.

After the hearing committee was convened, Gabriel failed to show up at work so he was given another notice of violation for absence without official leave. In his explanation, Gabriel said that he was merely following the advice of his psychiatrist and that he had no work to report back to given that he had been placed under floating status since the beginning of the investigation. The management took disciplinary action by suspending Gabriel from work for ten (10) days.

LA Ruling:

The Labor Arbiter (LA) ruled in favor of Gabriel.

The LA noted that Gabriel’s fate shifted after the complaint of Quiwa. While at first glance the complaint may appear serious, she found the matter not at all connected with Gabriel’s work or would affect at all the performance of his duties.

The LA did not agree that the Quiwa complaint could impact Gabriel’s efficiency and compromise the company’s operations. As for the other charges attributed to Gabriel, the labor arbiter considered these as acts of harassment and offshoots of the complaint filed by Quiwa.

NLRC Ruling:

The NLRC reversed the labor arbiter’s ruling and dismissed the complaint against Petron.

In dismissing the complaint against Petron, the NLRC held that: (1) Gabriel’s assignment as QMS Coordinator was a mere lateral transfer because the appointment letter did not indicate an increase in rank and/or salary; (2) his subsequent detail to another office was not a demotion since Gabriel still received the same salary and benefits; (3) instead of putting Gabriel under preventive suspension, Petron’s management thought it best to just give him another assignment; and (4) there was no substantial evidence to support the acts of harassment perpetrated by management.

After his motion for reconsideration was denied, Gabriel turned to the CA for recourse.

Since Gabriel’s counsel on record received the denial of his motion for reconsideration on 14 May 2010, he had sixty (60) days or until 13 July 2010, to file a petition for certiorari. However, on 10 July 2010, Gabriel had to file a motion for extension due to time and distance constraints for Gabriel to secure an authentication from the Philippine Consular Office in Australia.

CA Ruling:

In its resolution, the CA denied the motion for extension saying that no extensions are allowed under the amended Rule 65 of the Rules of Court.

From this, Gabriel filed his motion for reconsideration with prayer to admit the attached petition for certiorari claiming that the factual circumstances of his case are exceptional and merit a relaxation of the rules of procedure.

Considering the submissions of both parties, the CA maintained that Gabriel’s motion failed to present any substantial and meritorious ground which would justify a reversal of its earlier ruling.


Whether or not failure to obtain the earlier appointment with the Philippine Embassy abroad to subscribe is an exception to the rule prohibiting extension to file petition for certiorari before the Court of Appeals

SC Ruling:

The SC denied the petition.

The Labor Code of the Philippines 2018 Edition (re-numbered and updated) by Atty. Villanueva now available

The SC held that under our present labor laws, there is no provision for appeals from the decision of the NLRC. In fact, under Article 229 of the Labor Code, all decisions of the NLRC shall be final and executory after ten (10) calendar days from receipt thereof by the parties. Nevertheless, appellate courts still have an underlying power to scrutinize decisions of the NLRC on questions of law even though the law gives no explicit right to appeal. Simply said, even if there is no direct appeal from the NLRC decision, the aggrieved party still has a legal remedy.

Certiorari proceedings are limited in scope and narrow in character because they only correct acts rendered without jurisdiction, in excess of jurisdiction, or with grave abuse of discretion.

Section 4 Rule 65 of the Rules of Court and as applied in the Laguna Metts Corporation case, the general rule is that a petition for certiorari must be filed within sixty ( 60) days from notice of the judgment. In Labao vs. Flores, however, exceptions to the strict application of this rule were laid down:

(1) most persuasive and weighty reasons; (2) to relieve a litigant from an injustice not commensurate with his failure to comply with the prescribed procedure; (3) good faith of the defaulting party by immediately paying within a reasonable time from the time of the default; (4) the existence of special or compelling circumstances; (5) the merits of the case; (6) a cause not entirely attributable to the fault or negligence of the party favored by the suspension of the rules; (7) a lack of any showing that the review sought is merely frivolous and dilatory; (8) the other party will not be unjustly prejudiced thereby; (9) fraud, accident, mistake or excusable negligence without appellant’s fault; (10) peculiar legal and equitable circumstances attendant to each case; ( 11) in the name of substantial justice and fair play; (12) importance of the issues involved; and (13) exercise of sound discretion by the judge guided by all the attendant circumstances. Thus, there should be an effort on the part of the party invoking liberality to advance a reasonable or meritorious explanation for his/her failure to comply with the rules.

In the motion for extension to file a petition for certiorari, it was stated that Gabriel had since been working and living in Australia for a few years subsequent to his separation from Petron. The week before the 60-day deadline for filing, Gabriel’s counsel had already emailed a copy of the petition. Gabriel explained in his motion that he needed more time to secure an appointment with the Philippine Consular Office in Melbourne, Australia.

Unlike those mentioned exceptions when the period to file a petition for certiorari was not strictly applied, the SC did not find Gabriel’s reason to meet the deadline compelling. In the first place, his counsel, who is supposed to be well-versed in our rules of procedure, should have anticipated that Gabriel needed to take his oath before the Philippine Consular Office.

By giving Gabriel only one (1) week to comply with this requirement, his lawyer did not give him much time and simply assumed that could deliver on time. On the other hand, Gabriel, assuming he really wanted to pursue his case against Petron, could have easily visited the Philippine Consular Office as soon as possible. Instead, he opted to wait for a few days thinking that time was not of the essence.

The rationale for the amendments under A.M. No. 07-7-12-SC is essentially to prevent the use (or abuse) of the petition for certiorari under Rule 65 to delay a case or even defeat the ends of justice. The SC refused to simply reward the lack of foresight on the part of Gabriel and his lawyer.

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