Burden of proof in termination cases is upon employer to show just cause for termination of employment. However, such a burden arises only if the complaining employee has shown, by substantial evidence, the fact of termination by the employer.

Renante B. Remoticado vs. Typical Construction Trading Corp. and Rommel M. Alignay
G.R. No. 206529, April 23, 2018

No illegal dismissal; Fact of termination; Burden of proof; Release, waiver and quitclaim;


Renante Remoticado’s (Remoticado) services were engaged by Typical Construction Trading Corporation (Typical Construction) as a helper/laborer in its construction projects, the most recent being identified as the Jedic Project at First Industrial Park in Batangas.

Remoticado was absent without an official leave. He remained absent for some time when, upon showing up, he informed Nielo, the Field Human Resources Officer, that he was resigning. Prodded by Nielo for his reason, Remoticado noted that they were “personal reasons considering that he got sick.” Nielo advised Remoticado to return the following day as he still had to report Remoticado’s resignation to Typical Construction’s main office, and as his final pay had yet to be computed.

Remoticado returned the following day and was handed P5,082.53 as his final pay. He protested, saying that he was entitled to “separation pay computed at two (2) months for his services for two (2) years.” In response, Nielo explained that Remoticado could not be entitled to separation pay considering that he voluntarily resigned. Nielo added that if Remoticado was not satisfied with P5,082.53, he was free to continue working for Typical Construction. However, Remoticado was resolute and proceeded to sign and affix his thumb marks on a Kasulatan ng Pagbawi ng Karapatan at Kawalan ng Paghahabol, a waiver and quitclaim.

Labor Code 2018 Edition (re-numbered and updated)

Remoticado filed a Complaint for illegal dismissal against Typical Construction and its owner and operator, Rommel M. Alignay (Alignay). He claimed that he was told to stop reporting for work due to a “debt at the canteen” and thereafter was prevented from entering Typical Construction’s premises.

LA Ruling:

The Labor Arbiter (LA) dismissed Remoticado’ s Complaint for lack of merit.

The LA explained that Remoticado’s employment could not have been illegally terminated as he voluntarily resigned. Remoticado appealed to the NLRC.

NLRC Ruling:

The National Labor Relations Commission (NLRC) denied Remoticado’ s appeal.

CA Ruling:

The Court of Appeals (CA) found no grave abuse of discretion on the part of the National Labor Relations Commission. In its assailed Resolution, the CA denied Remoticado’ s Motion for Reconsideration.

Undeterred by the consistent rulings of the Court of Appeals, the National Labor Relations Commission, and Labor Arbiter Dela Cruz, Remoticado filed the present Petition.


Whether or not the claim of prevented from reporting for work can prevail over the submitted resignation supported with release, waiver and quitclaim

Whether or not general statement of being dismissed from service can establish the fact of dismissal

SC Ruling:

The SC did not find merit in the petition.

The SC held that in illegal termination cases, the burden is upon the employer to prove that termination of employment was for a just cause. Logic dictates, however, that the complaining employee must first establish by substantial evidence the fact of termination by the employer. If there is no proof of termination by the employer, there is no point in even considering the cause for it. There can be no illegal termination when there was no termination.

Learn more about doctrines, rules, and principles in valid dismissal of employees

Citing Doctor vs. Nll Enterprises, (G.R. No. 194001, November 22, 2017), the SC ruled that before the employer must bear the burden of proving that the dismissal was legal, the employee must first establish by substantial evidence the fact of his dismissal from service. If there is no dismissal, then there can be no question as to the legality or illegality thereof.

Remoticado insists on his version of events that he was told to stop reporting for work on account of his supposed indebtedness at the canteen. This bare insistence, however, is all that he has. He failed to present convincing evidence. Even his basic narrative is bereft of supporting details that could be taken as badges of veracity. As the Court of Appeals underscored, he only made a general statement that he was illegally dismissed. He did not state how he was terminated or mentioned who prevented him from reporting for work.

It is not disputed that the establishment identified as Bax Canteen, to which Remoticado owed P2,115.00, is not owned by, or otherwise connected with any of the Typical Construction and its owner, or with any of Typical Construction’s owners, directors, or officers. There was also no showing that any of Typical Construction, et al., or anyone connected with Typical Construction, was prejudiced or even just inconvenienced by Remoticado’s indebtedness. It appears that Bax Canteen was merely in the proximity of the site of Typical Construction’s Jedic Project. Remoticado failed to show why Typical Construction would go out of its way to concern itself with the affairs of another company. What stands, therefore, is the sheer improbability that Typical Construction would take Remoticado’s indebtedness as an infraction, let alone as a ground for terminating his employment.

The waiver and quitclaim bearing Remoticado’s signature and thumbmarks was dated December 21, 2010, predating his alleged illegal termination by two (2) days. If indeed Remoticado was told to stop reporting for work on December 23, 2010, it does not make sense for Typical Construction to have him execute a waiver and quitclaim two (2) full days ahead of the termination of his employment. It would have been a ludicrous move for an employer that is purportedly out to outwit someone into unemployment.

What is most crucial is that Remoticado has never disavowed the waiver and quitclaim. It does not appear also that he has accounted for why this document exists, such as by alleging that he was coerced into executing it.

Jurisprudence frowns upon waivers and quitclaims forced upon employees. Waivers and quitclaims are, however, not invalid in themselves. When shown to be freely executed, they validly discharge an employer from liability to an employee. A legitimate waiver representing a voluntary settlement of a laborer’s claims should be respected by the courts as the law between the parties.

Remoticado’s barren tale of his employer’s order for him to stop reporting for work is hardly the requisite “clear proof that the waiver was wangled from an unsuspecting or gullible person.” Indeed, courts and tribunals should not be so gullible as to lend validity to every waiver and quitclaim confronting them. However, neither should they be so foolhardy as to believe a complaining employee’s narrative at the mere sight or mention of a waiver or quitclaim.

Remoticado does absolutely nothing more than entreat the doctrine on an employer’s burden to prove just causes for terminating employment. It is as though this invocation was a magic spell that would win the day for him regardless of whether or not he is able to discharge his primordial burden of proving the occurrence of termination. The SC refused to fall for this. The task of adjudication demands more than convenient conclusions obtained through handy invocations. Rather, it requires a meticulous appraisal of evidence and legal bases.

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