Montemayor vs. Araneta University Foundation 77 SCRA 321 (1977) G.R. No. L-44251, May 31, 1977

Fact: The petitioner was a fulltime professor of respondent. Previously, he was on the faculty of other educational institutions. There was a complaint for immorality lodged against him by the Chaplain of the respondent for alleged immorality. respondent created a committee to investigate such charge. The first hearing was attended by petitioner as well as complainant with his two witnesses. One of them. Leonardo de Lara, submitted an affidavit. Petitioner sought the postponement of the investigation which was granted and that was furnished a copy of the affidavit of the other witness. The accusation centered on conversations on sex and immoral advances committed against the person of Leonardo de Lara which was cross-examination by petitioner and that a motion to dismiss or to hold the hearing in abeyance. He likewise filed an affidavit to sustain his defense on June 17, 1974. The report and recommendation of the investigating committee came on July 8, 1974. It was adverse to petitioner, who was found morally responsible for the act complained of. The recommendation was for his demotion in rank by one degree. Subsequently, a new charges being filed by Professor Luis R. Almazan, one Jaime Castaneda, and Jesus Martinez against petitioner for conduct unbecoming of a faculty member, another committee was appointed. Then came his preventive suspension, ordered to last until the administrative investigation was concluded. There was a motion by petitioner for the postponement of the hearing set for November 18 and 19, 1974, but the same was denied. The hearing proceeded in his absence. There was testimony by Professor Luis Almazan and Jaime Castaneda. Thereafter, on December 5, 1974, the Committee submitted its report finding the charges against petitioner to have been sufficiently established and recommending to the President and the Board of Trustees of the Araneta University Foundation his separation from the University, in accordance with Sections 116 and 351 of the Manual of Policies of the University. The Committee found as established: “1. That immoral advances on several occasions have been made by respondent [herein petitioner] on Prof. Luis Almazan 2. That immoral advances have also been made by respondent on Jaime Castaneda, a student- employee of the university on several occasions; 3. That said immoral advances were frustrated because both Professor Almazan and Mr. Castaneda had refused to accept them; 4. That both witnesses and victims of said immoral advances have declared that the behavior of respondent was detrimental [and] prejudicial to the moral and educational standards of the Araneta University Foundation; 5. That because of said behavior, respondent should not continue as Professor in the University; and 6. That the acts of respondent complained of are offensive to good morals [and] inimical to the welfare of students and greatly prejudicial to [the] interest and educational objectives of University, hence the same are highly reprehensible.” 5 His dismissal was then ordered on December 10, 1974, effective November 15, 1974, the date of his preventive suspension. The University, on December 12, 1974, filed with the National Labor Relations Commission a report of his suspension and application for clearance to terminate his employment. Meanwhile, on November 21, 1974, petitioner in turn lodged a complaint with the National Labor Relations Commission against private respondents for reinstatement and payment of back wages and salaries, with all the privileges, benefits and increments attendant thereto. There was a motion to dismiss on the part of the latter. Both the labor arbiter and the National Labor Relations Commission found in favor of petitioner. He was ordered reinstated to his former position with back wages and without loss of seniority and other privileges. Petitioner’s complaint for unfair labor practice was, however, dismissed. Private respondents appealed to respondent Secretary of Labor who, on July 14, 1976, set aside the Commission’s order for his reinstatement. He found petitioner’s dismissal justified, Nor was he persuaded by the plea that there was denial of due process. He was satisfied with the procedure followed by private respondent. Moreover, he could not have ignored the fact that the controversy between the parties was passed upon and the parties heard on their respective contentions in the proceedings before the labor agencies. Respondent University was, however, required to pay complainant the amount of P14,480.00 representing the latter’s accrued back wages which the former voluntarily offered to extend him. Dissatisfied with the Secretary’s decision, petitioner filed this instant petition for certiorari. adrianantazo.wordpress.com

Issue: Whether the Respondent afforded the Petitioner with valid administrative Due Process?adrianantazo.wordpress.com

Held: Yes, The procedure followed in the first investigation of petitioner did satisfy the procedural due process requisite. The same cannot be said of the November, 1974 inquiry when the petitioner had to face anew a similar charge of making homosexual advances. although the procedure of administrative due process was not followed in the second offense committed by the Petitioner, the deficiency was remedied, that petitioner was able to present his case before the Labor Commission. Thus, the record discloses that at a mediation conference held on December 9, 1974, the parties appeared and, after all efforts at conciliation had failed, they agreed to submit their dispute for compulsory arbitration. Several hearings were conducted by Labor Arbiter Atty. Daniel Lucas, Jr., wherein petitioner submitted his evidence supported by his affidavit impugning the regularity of the proceedings before the investigating committees and assailing the legality of his removal. Respondent University also presented the affidavit of Thomas P. G. Neill Dean of the Institute of Agricultural Business Administration and Chairman of the Committee created to investigate the charges of immorality against petitioner attesting to the regularity of the proceedings and the validity of the dismissal.” 22 The legal aspect as to the procedural due process having been satisfied was then summarized by the Solicitor General thus: “All the foregoing clearly shows that petitioner was afforded his day in court. Finally, and more significant, is the fact that petitioner claims denial of due process in the proceeding had before the investigating committees and not in the proceedings before the NLRC wherein, as shown heretofore, he was given the fullest opportunity to present his case.adrianantazo.wordpress.com

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