My employer lost a labor case I filed against him before a labor arbiter. He appealed the case at a higher court. Out of the P500,000.00 monetary judgment, he only gave P20,000.00 as an appeal bond, saying he can only give that amount because of business reverses that he encountered recently. Will his appeal proceed despite the meager amount of the appeal bond?
The case of Turks Shawarma Company and Gem Zeñarosa vs. Pajaron and Carbonilla (G.R. No. 207156, January 16, 2017) penned by the Associate Justice Mariano del Castillo can enlighten you in your situation. It clearly stated:
“The court has time and again held that “[t]he right to appeal is neither a natural right nor is it a component of due process. It is a mere statutory privilege, and may be exercised only in the manner and in accordance with the provisions of the law. The party who seeks to avail of the same must comply with the requirements of the rules. Failing to do so, the right to appeal is lost.”
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“Article 223 of the Labor Code, which sets forth the rules on appeal from the labor arbiter’s monetary award, provides:
Art. 223. Appeal. —Decisions, awards or orders of the labor arbiter are final and executory unless appealed to the commission [National Labor Relations Commission] by any or both parties within ten (10) calendar days from receipt of such decisions, awards or orders. Such appeal may be entertained only on any of the following grounds:
(a) If there is prima facie evidence of abuse of discretion on the part of the labor arbiter;
(b) If the decision, order or award was secured through fraud or coercion, including graft and corruption;
(c) If made purely on questions of law; and
(d) If serious errors in the finding of facts are raised, which would cause grave or irreparable damage or injury to the appellant.|
In case of a judgment involving a monetary award, an appeal by the employer may be perfected only upon the posting of a cash or surety bond issued by a reputable bonding company duly accredited by the commission in the amount equivalent to the monetary award in the judgment appealed from. (Emphasis supplied)”
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Further, the Supreme Court ruled:
“The NLRC exercises full discretion in resolving a motion for the reduction of bond in accordance with the standards of meritorious grounds and reasonable amount. The reduction of the bond is not a matter of right on the part of the movant [but]lies within the sound discretion of the NLRC xxx.” (Emphasis and underscoring supplied)
Clearly, the general rule is, the appeal bond must be filed in full especially when the decision appealed involves monetary award. Hence, if your employer is not able to prove or give sufficient reason to relax the rules, the general rule shall be strictly applied. The discretion is exercised by the court having jurisdiction over the appeal; thus, whether your employer has given enough reason for the rules to be relaxed in his favor shall be determined by the court. The general rule is always applied, and in no case does the court allow a bond below ten percent (10 percent) of the monetary award.
Again, we find it necessary to mention that this opinion is solely based on the facts you have narrated and our appreciation of the same. The opinion may vary when the facts are changed or elaborated.
We hope that we were able to enlighten you on the matter.
Editor’s note: Dear PAO is a daily column of the Public Attorney’s Office. Questions for Chief Acosta may be sent to email@example.com.