Thursday, December 8, 2011

Petition for certiorari under Rule 65 in labor cases - G.R. No. 169757

G.R. No. 169757

"x x x.

It is noted that respondent correctly sought judicial review of the decision of the NLRC via a petition for certiorari under Rule 65 of the Rules of Court filed before the Court of Appeals in accordance with the decision of the Court in St. Martin Funeral Home v. NLRC,[14] which held:

Therefore, all references in the amended Section 9 of B.P. No. 129 to supposedappeals from the NLRC to the Supreme Court are interpreted and hereby declared to mean and refer to petitions for certiorari under Rule 65. Consequently, all such petitions should henceforth be initially filed in the Court of Appeals in strict observance of the doctrine on the hierarchy of courts as the appropriate forum for the relief desired.[15]

The Court of Appeals stated in its decision that the issue it had to resolve waswhether or not the public respondent [NLRC] committed grave abuse of discretionwhen it declared that no employer-employee relationship exists between the petitioner and the private respondents, since the petitioner failed to prove such fact by substantial evidence.”[16]

Errors of judgment, as distinguished from errors of jurisdiction, are not within the province of a special civil action for certiorari, which is merely confined to issues of jurisdiction or grave abuse of discretion.[17] By grave abuse of discretion is meant such capricious and whimsical exercise of judgment as is equivalent to lack of jurisdiction, and it must be shown that the discretion was exercised arbitrarily or despotically.[18]

The Court of Appeals, therefore, could grant the petition for certiorari if it finds that the NLRC, in its assailed decision or resolution, committed grave abuse of discretion by capriciously, whimsically, or arbitrarily disregarding evidence that is material to or decisive of the controversy; and it cannot make this determination without looking into the evidence of the parties.[19] Necessarily, the appellate court can only evaluate the materiality or significance of the evidence, which is alleged to have been capriciously, whimsically, or arbitrarily disregarded by the NLRC, in relation to all other evidence on record.[20] Thus, contrary to the contention of petitioner, the Court of Appeals can review the finding of facts of the NLRC and the evidence of the parties to determine whether the NLRC gravely abused its discretion in finding that no employer-employee relationship existed between petitioner and respondent.[21]

x x x."