SC asked to void P60-M claim in Baguio project that never was
A real estate firm is seeking the reversal of a Supreme Court order which awarded P60 million in compensation to an Australian national who claimed he was not paid for work he did for the firm over a project in Baguio City that did not push through.
The Australian, according to the firm E. Ganzon Inc. (EGI) in its petition, had worked in the Philippines without a permit.
EGI also asked the tribunal’s third division to bring the case to the court en banc because of “peculiar circumstances and numerous important issues” involved in the labor case filed by Australian Andrew James McBurnie.
Eulalio Ganzon, EGI owner, reiterated that McBurnie was his “business partner,” not an employee as previously ruled by the Court of Appeals on Oct. 27, 2008, and a separate resolution of the National Labor Relations Commission on Nov. 17, 2009.
Ganzon, through his lawyer Teodoro Jumamil, said the September 2004 decision of labor arbiter Salimathar Nambi in granting McBurnie’s P60-million claim was tantamount to a “judicial legislation” which, he said, should be considered illegal and unconstitutional.
EGI entered into a partnership with McBurnie to explore a hotel project in Baguio City, but the project did not push through. McBurnie, EGI said, was never an employee of EGI.
In the first place, EGI said, the Australian had no working permit. “This was a clear violation of the Labor Code,” EGI said.
“(W)hen the labor arbiter decided that … McBurnie is entitled to … (back) wages even if he had no AEP (alien employment permit) … the labor arbiter effectively revoked and annulled the provisions in the Labor Code and in Philippine immigration laws that require foreigners to obtain an AEP and a working visa,” he added.
Ganzon said Nambi “virtually imposed a judicial legislation superseding the AEP requirement mandated by Congress.”
“Moreover, the labor arbiter rendered decision based on a position paper filed out of time a year after the complaint was filed by (McBurnie) in absentia,” he said, noting that the Australian left the country on Nov. 26, 1999, and never returned to the country.
He added: “(These) grounds clearly show that the labor arbiter’s decision … was a patent nullity.”
Ganzon also lamented that the high court’s Sept. 18, 2009, decision, which upheld Nambi’s ruling, “was tainted with very serious irregularities” since it was delivered on the same day that its Aug. 26, 2009, minute resolution was released.
The earlier resolution ordered Ganzon to file a reply to the petition filed by McBurnie.
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