Var Orient Shipping Co., Inc. vs. Achacoso 161 SCRA 232 (1988) G.R. No. 81805, May 31, 1988

Fact: The petitioners filed a complaint with the Workers’ Assistance and Adjudication Office, Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) against the private respondents, crew members of the MPV “Silver Reefer,” for having allegedly violated their Contracts of Employment with the petitioners which supposedly resulted in damages arising from the interdiction of the vessel by the International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) at Kiel Canal, Germany, in March 1986. After joinder of the issues, the case was heard on March 4, 1987 where the parties agreed to submit their respective position papers and thereafter the case would be submitted for decision. Only the private respondents submitted a position paper. On the basis of the pleadings and memoranda the public respondent rendered a decision on September 9,1987 the dispositive part of which Dismiss of the instant case.A copy of the decision was sent by registered mail and delivered by the postman to the petitioners’ counsel through the receptionist but According to Attorney Figura, he did not receive the envelope containing the decision. Petitioners allegedly learned about the decision only when the writ of execution was served on them by NLRC Deputy Sheriff . petitioners, through new counsel, filed an ‘urgent Motion to Recall Writ of Execution’ on the ground that the decision had not been received by the petitioners, hence, it was not yet final and executory. The public respondent denied the motion. In due time, this petition was filed wherein the petitioners allege

Issue: Whether the Petitioner were denied due process of law because the respondent POEA Administrator resolved the case without any formal hearing?

Held: No, The petitioners’ allegation that the issuance of the writ of execution was premature because the decision had not been received by their counsel is unconvincing. Petitioners failed to submit an affidavit of the receptionist Marlyn Aquino explaining what she did with the decision which she received for Atty. Figura. Under the circumstances, the respondent Administrator’s ruling that the decision had been properly served on petitioners’ counsel and that it is now final and unappealable, should be sustained. Equally unmeritorious is the petitioners ‘allegation that they were denied due process because the decision was rendered without a formal hearing. The essence of due process is simply an opportunity to be heard, or, as applied to administrative proceedings, an opportunity to explain one’s side, or an opportunity to seek a reconsideration of the action or ruling complained of. The fact is that at the hearing of the case on March 4,1987, it was agreed by the parties that they would file their respective memoranda and thereafter consider the case submitted for decision. This procedure is authorized by law to expedite the settlement of labor disputes. However, only the private respondents submitted memoranda. The petitioners did not. On June 10, 1987, the respondents filed a motion to resolve. The petitioners’ counsel did not oppose either the “Motion to Resolve” or the respondents “Motion for Execution of Decision” dated October 19, 1987, both of which were furnished them through counsel. If it were true, as they now contend, that they had been denied due process in the form of a formal hearing, they should have opposed both


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