Can an employee be dismissed if he punches in not only his time card but also the time cards of his co-employees? The answer to this question may be found in the case of SAN MIGUEL CORPORATION vs. THE NATIONAL LABOR RELATIONS COMMISSION, PEDRO B. DELEN, FELIPE P. MERCADO, ROGELIO Z. MISOLAS, HENRY S. LOGAN & EFREN M. QUERUBIN (G.R. No. 82467 June 29, 1989).
Here are the pertinent facts:
“The complainants were former security guards of the petitioner which dismissed them for falsification of their lame cards. They made false entries in their time cards showing that they reported for work on February 19 and 20, 1983 when the truth was that they went on a hunting tap to San Juan, Batangas, with their chief Major Martin Asaytuno, then head of the Administrative Services Department of the Security Directorate of the petitioner.
“Besides the falsification of the entries for February 19 and 20, 1983 in their time cards, complainant Misolas was caught redhanded by Security Guard Romeo Martin at 7:45 A.M. on March 2, 1983 punching in not only his own time card but also the time cards of Delen and Querubin (p. 51, Rollo). Seeing Misolas in a tight fix, Querubin rushed to the bundy clock and punched in a time card (which turned out to be the card of one Rodrigo de Castro) to save Misolas and to make it appear to Martin that he (Querubin), punched in his own time card.”
And here is the ruling of the Supreme Court:
“We, therefore, now resolve to grant the petitioner’s second motion for reconsideration, for, although it may be conceded that the private respondents acted under some degree of moral compulsion when they agreed to accompany Major Asaytuno on a hunting trip to San Juan, Batangas, they were certainly under no compulsion from him to falsify their time cards and thereby defraud the company by collecting wages for the dates when they did not report for work.
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“The falsification and fraud which the private respondents committed against their employer were inexcusable. Major Asaytuno’s initials on the false entries in their time cards did not purge the documents of their falsity. Their acts constituted dishonesty and serious misconduct, lawful grounds for their dismissal under Art. 282, sub-pars. (a) and (c), of the Labor Code, which provides:
ART. 282. Termination by employer. An employer may terminate an employment for any of the following just causes:
(a) Serious misconduct or willful disobedience by the employee of the lawful orders of his employer or representative in connection with his work.
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(c) Fraud or willful breach by the employee of the trust reposed in him by his employer or duly authorized representative.
“The NLRC gravely abused its discretion in ordering the reinstatement of the private respondents to their positions with backwages. Its decision was an unjustified departure from the rule that:
“An employer cannot legally be compelled to continue with the employment of a person who admittedly was guilty of misfeasance or malfeasance towards his employer, and whose continuance in the service of the latter is patently inimical to his interests. The law, in protecting the rights of the laborer, authorizes neither oppression nor self-destruction of the employer. (Manila Trading & Supply Co. vs. The Hon. Francisco Zulueta, et al., 69 Phil. 485, cited in San Miguel Brewery, Inc. vs. National Labor Union et al., 97 Phil. 387.)”