G.R. No. 149660, 20 January 2009
Private respondent Oabel was initially hired by petitioner as an extra beverage attendant in Century Park Hotel, an establishment owned by the petitioner. Petitioner then contracted with Manila Resource Development Corporation.
Subsequently, private respondent Oabel was transferred to MANRED, with the latter deporting itself as her employer.
Private respondent filed before the Labor Arbiter a petition for regularization of employment against the petitioner. However, private respondent Oabel was dismissed from employment such that she converted her petition for regularization into a complaint for illegal dismissal.
The Labor Arbiter dismissed the complaint but was overturned by NLRC. Petitioner subsequently appealed before the Court of Appeals but the same was dismissed since the certification of non-forum shopping was only subscribed and verified by the Personnel Director of petitioner corporation without attaching thereto his authority to do so for and in behalf of petitioner corporation per board resolution or special power of attorney executed by the latter.
Whether the certification which was subscribed and verified by the Personnel Director of petitioner corporation constitutes substantial compliance.
No.Petitioner relies upon this Court’s ruling in Digital Microwave Corp. v. Court of Appeals to show that its Personnel Director has been duly authorized to sign pleadings for and in behalf of the petitioner. Petitioner, however, has taken the ruling in Digital Microwave out of context. The portion of the ruling in Digital Microwave upon which petitioner relies was in response to the issue of impossibility of compliance by juridical persons with the requirements of Circular 28-91.The Court’s identification of duly authorized officers or directors as the proper signatories of a certificate of nonforum-shopping was in response to that issue. The ruling does not, however, ipso facto clothe a corporate officer or director with authority to execute a certificate of non-forum shopping by virtue of the former’s position alone.
Any doubt on the matter has been resolved by the Court’s ruling in BPI Leasing Corp. v. Court of Appeals where this Court emphasized that the lawyer acting for the corporation must be specifically authorized to sign pleadings for the corporation. Specific authorization, the Court held, could only come in the form of a board resolution issued by the Board of Directors that specifically authorizes the counsel to institute the petition and execute the certification, to make his actions binding on his principal, i.e., the corporation.
*Case Digest by Nikki P. Ebillo, JD-4, Andres Bonifacio Law School, SY 2019-2020