SC orders GMA Network to reinstate 30 cameramen | Inquirer News

SC orders GMA Network to reinstate 30 cameramen

/ 07:12 PM September 22, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — The Supreme Court has ordered GMA Network, Inc. (GMA) to reinstate 30 cameramen and assistant cameramen and pay their backwages, allowances, and other benefits from the time of their illegal dismissal in 2013 up to the time of their actual reinstatement.

In a decision promulgated July 13, but made public Tuesday, the high court’s Third Division through Associate Justice Marvic Leonen said that aside from the backwages, allowances and benefits, the illegally dismissed employees should also each receive payment for attorney’s fee equivalent to 10 percent of total monetary award accruing to each of them.

The high court said the amounts due to each petitioner shall bear legal interest at the rate of six percent per annum, to be computed from the finality of the Court’s decision until full payment.


The case is then remanded to the Labor Arbiter for computation of the monetary awards.


The employees were hired between 2005 and 2011 but were all dismissed in May of 2013.

Petitioners, the dismissed employees maintained that they were regular employees because they have performed functions that were necessary and desirable to GMA’s usual business as a television and broadcasting company.

In this case, the high court said “there was no showing that at all that the employees, who were paid a meager salary ranging from P750 to P1500 per taping, were hired because of their unique skills, talent and celebrity status not possessed by ordinary employees. It stressed that in order to be considered independent contractors and not employees, as claimed by the media network, it must be shown that the petitioners were hired because of their unique skills and talents and that GMA did not exercise control over the means and methods of their work.”

“In this case, GMA provided the equipment used during tapings and assigned supervisors to monitor the petitioners’ performance and guarantee their compliance with company protocols and standards,” the high court said.

The high court further noted that “only casual employees performing work that is neither necessary nor desirable to the usual business and trade of the employer are required to render at least one year of service to attain regular status. However, employees who perform functions that are necessary and desirable to the usual business and trade of the employer attain regular status from the time of engagement.”

Article 295 of the Labor Code identifies four categories of employees, namely: 1) regular; 2) project; 3) seasonal; and 4) casual employees. Article 294 of the same provides the security of tenure stating that “In cases of regular employment, the employer shall not terminate the services of an employee except for a just cause or when authorized.”


“In this case, GMA repeated engaged petitioners as camera operators for its television programs. As such, petitioners performed activities which are within the regular and usual business of GMA and not identifiably distinct or separate from the other undertakings of the media network,” the high court said.

The Court added that it would be absurd to consider the nature of the petitioners’ work of operating cameras as distinct or separate from the business of GMA, a broadcasting company that produces, records and airs television programs.

The high court further stated that “it cannot enable GMA in hiring and rehiring workers solely depending on its fancy, getting rid of them when, in its mind, they are bereft of prior utility, and with a view to circumvent their right to security of tenure.”

Petitioners, the high court said, “may only be terminated for just or authorized cause, and after due notice and hearing.”

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TAGS: GMA, Labor, labor arbiter, reinstatement, Supreme Court, television

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