NASECO GUARDS ASSOCIATION-PEMA (NAGA-PEMA), Petitioner vs NATIONAL SERVICE CORPORATION (NASECO), Respondent. G.R. No. 165442; August 25, 2010
Respondent National Service Corporation (NASECO) is a wholly-owned subsidiary of the PNB organized under the Corporation Code in 1975. It supplies security and manpower services to different clients such as the SEC, PDIC, Food Terminal Incorporated, Forex Corporation and PNB. Petitioner NASECO Guards Association-PEMA (NAGA-PEMA) is the collective bargaining representative of the regular rank and file security guards of respondent. NASECO Employees Union-PEMA (NEMU-PEMA) is the collective bargaining representative of the regular rank and file (non-security) employees of respondent such as messengers, janitors, typists, clerks and radio-telephone operators.
On June 8, 1995, petitioner and respondent agreed to sign a CBA on non-economic terms. On September 24, 1996, petitioner filed a notice of strike because of respondent’s refusal to bargain for economic benefits in the CBA. Following conciliation hearings, the parties again commenced CBA negotiations and started to resolve the issues on wage increase, productivity bonus, incentive bonus, allowances, and other benefits but failed to reach an agreement.
Meanwhile, respondent and NEMU-PEMA entered into a CBA on non-economic terms. Unfortunately, a dispute among the leaders of NEMU-PEMA arose and at a certain point, leadership of the organization was unclear. Hence, the negotiations concerning the economic terms of the CBA were put on hold until the internal dispute could be resolved.
On April 29, 1997, petitioner filed a notice of strike before the NCMB against respondent and PNB due to a bargaining deadlock. The following day, NEMU-PEMA likewise filed a notice of strike against respondent and PNB on the ground of ULP. Efforts by the NCMB to conciliate failed. DOLE Secretary assumed jurisdiction over the strike notices. DOLE Secretary issued a Resolution directing petitioner and respondent to execute a new CBA incorporating therein his dispositions regarding benefits of the employees. The charge of ULP against respondent and PNB was dismissed.
Respondent filed a petition for certiorari before the CA questioning the DOLE Secretary’s order. CA partly granted the petition and ruled that a recomputation and reevaluation of the benefits awarded was in order. Petitioner was not in favor with the result of the recomputation. Hence this petition.
WON PNB, being the undisputed owner of and exercising control over respondent, should be made liable to pay the CBA benefits awarded to the petitioner.
- Petitioner argues that the CA erred in stating that respondent was a company operating at a loss and therefore cannot be expected to act generously and confer upon its employees additional benefits exceeding what is mandated by law. It is the petitioner’s position that based on the “no loss, no profit” policy of respondent with PNB, respondent in truth has no “pocket” of its own and is, in effect, 1 and the same with PNB with regard to financial gains and/or liabilities. Thus, petitioners contend that the CBA benefits should be shouldered by PNB considering the poor financial condition of respondent.
What the petitioner is asking this Court to do is to pierce the veil of corporate fiction of respondent and hold PNB (being the mother company) liable for the CBA benefits. In Concept Builders, Inc. v. NLRC, we explained the doctrine of piercing the corporate veil, as follows:
It is a fundamental principle of corporation law that a corporation is an entity separate and distinct from its stockholders and from other corporations to which it may be connected. But, this separate and distinct personality of a corporation is merely a fiction created by law for convenience and to promote justice. So, when the notion of separate juridical personality is used to defeat public convenience, justify wrong, protect fraud or defend crime, or is used as a device to defeat the labor laws, this separate personality of the corporation may be disregarded or the veil of corporate fiction pierced. This is true likewise when the corporation is merely an adjunct, a business conduit or an alter ego of another corporation.
Also in Pantranco Employees Association (PEA-PTGWO) v. NLRC, this Court ruled:
Whether the separate personality of the corporation should be pierced hinges on obtaining facts appropriately pleaded or proved. However, any piercing of the corporate veil has to be done with caution, albeit the Court will not hesitate to disregard the corporate veil when it is misused or when necessary in the interest of justice. After all, the concept of corporate entity was not meant to promote unfair objectives.
Applying the doctrine to the case at bar, we find no reason to pierce the corporate veil of respondent and go beyond its legal personality. Control, by itself, does not mean that the controlled corporation is a mere instrumentality or a business conduit of the mother company. Even control over the financial and operational concerns of a subsidiary company does not by itself call for disregarding its corporate fiction. There must be a perpetuation of fraud behind the control or at least a fraudulent or illegal purpose behind the control in order to justify piercing the veil of corporate fiction. Such fraudulent intent is lacking in this case.
There is no showing that such “no loss, no profit” scheme between respondent and PNB was implemented to defeat public convenience, justify wrong, protect fraud or defend crime, or is used as a device to defeat the labor laws, nor does the scheme show that respondent is a mere business conduit or alter ego of PNB. Absent proof of these circumstances, respondent’s corporate personality cannot be pierced.
It is apparent that petitioner wants the Court to disregard the corporate personality of respondent and directly go after PNB in order for it to collect the CBA benefits. On the same breath, however, petitioner argues that ultimately it is PNB, by virtue of the “no loss, no profit” scheme, which shoulders and provides the funds for financial liabilities of respondent including wages and benefits of employees. If such scheme was indeed true as the petitioner presents it, then there was absolutely no need to pierce the veil of corporate fiction of respondent.
WHEREFORE, the petition is PARTLY GRANTED.
FROM ATTY. BALIMBING^^