The Court of Appeals (CA) should be barred from entertaining appeals of labor cases to avoid “the systematic delay” in the resolution of such controversies, a lawmaker said over the weekend.
Rep. Karlo Alexei Nograles of Davao City, chairperson of the House Committee on Labor, said that many cases related to labor are “running in circles” because the appeals process is redundant, allowing “legal manipulations to delay justice”.
Nograles recently filed House Bill 4529 seeking to speed up the appeals process of labor cases by bypassing the CA.
“With the present set-up of three stages/levels of appeal/review of labor cases, the mandate of providing speedy labor justice will still be negated particularly for lowly workers who could not afford a protracted, costly and frustrating litigation before another level of appellate body,” Nograles explained.
Most labor disputes are settled and decided at the Regional Arbitration and Commission Proper of the National Labor Relations Commission (NLRC).
The CA has jurisdiction over decisions of Regional Trial Courts and quasi-judicial bodies such as the NLRC.
If they desire, the losing party in a labor case can appeal the decision of the NLRC to the CA and, later on, to the Supreme Court (SC).
From 2009 to 2013, of the total 63,000 cases decided by the NLRC, 5,844 were appealed to the CA, translating to an average of 1,168 cases brought to the CA every year.
Of the 12,600 cases, 91 percent gained finality at the NLRC while of the 1,168 cases decided by the CA, 16 percent reached finality with 980 cases or 84 percent appealed to the SC for final decision, Nograles said.
“In effect, had decisions of the Commission Proper been directly appealable to the Supreme Court by way of Petition for Certiorari, the 9 percent appealed/reviewed decisions of the Commission Proper or the 84 percent appealed/reviewed decisions of the Court of Appeals will be disposed of in a much shorter time by the Supreme Court with finality,” he said.