Intertrod Maritime v. NLRC (1991) – Resignation


Intertrod Maritime v. NLRC (1991) is about the resignation of a Seaman in which he alleges that he was illegally dismissed because the reason for his resignation, which was accepted, ceased to exist.

Related Tags:

  • Voluntary Resignation
  • Withdrawal of Resignation
  • Overseas Employment Contract
  • Reason for resignation ceased to exist
  • Accepted Resignation

Details of Decision

Reference Number:G.R. No. 81087
Date:June 19, 1991
Ponente:PADILLA, J
Action:Petition for Certiorari (?)

Case Digest

I. Facts

Ernesto de la Cruz, respondent, signed a shipboard contract with Troodos Shipping Company as principal and Intertrod Maritime, Inc. While aboard the ship in Greece, De la Cruz requested for relief due to a personal reason. The request was approved by the Master of the ship and informed him that repatriation expenses were for his account and he had to give 30 days notice in view of Clause 5 of the employment contract so that a replacement could be arranged. After 4 days, the ship docked in Egypt and the Master "signed him off".

De La Cruz filed a complaint for illegal dismissal in the National Seamen Board (NSB) (now the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA)) alleging Intetrod breached the employment contract and violated NSB rules and regulations. Further, he alleged that his request was made in order to take care of a Filipino member of the crew who was hospitalized in Greece. However, the Master refused to let him immediately disembark in Greece so that the reason for his request for relief ceased to exist. In Intertrod’s Answer, denied the allegations and averred that it was De La Cruz’s own request for relief so that it was only proper that he should pay for his repatriation expenses in accordance with the provisions of their employment contract. Further, the contract provided that the employment contract also provided that the repatriation was at the Masters discretion on arrival at the first port where practicable.

The POEA dismissed the complaint while the National Labor Relations Commission (NLRC) reversed it.

II. Issues

Whether De La Cruz’s resignation was automatically withdrawn when he was not allowed to immediately disembark?

III. Ruling

Yes, De La Cruz resigned from his employment and there was no illegal dismissal.

A contract  is the law between the contracting parties; and where there is nothing in it which is contrary to law, morals, good customs, public policy or public order. For overseas employment, the contract is required to be approved by the POEA and such was approved by the NSB.

Resignation is the voluntary act of an employee who "finds himself in a situation where he believes that personal reasons cannot be sacrificed in favor of the exigency of the service, then he has no other choice but to disassociate himself from his employment." The employer has no control over resignations and the notification requirement was devised in order to ensure that no disruption of work would be involved by reason of the resignation. This practice has been recognized because "every business enterprise endeavors to increase its profits by adopting a device or means designed towards that goal."

Resignations, once accepted and being the sole act of the employee, may not be withdrawn without the consent of the employer. Once an employee resigns and his resignation is accepted, he no longer has any right to the job. If the employee later changes his mind, he must ask for approval of the withdrawal of his resignation from his employer, as if he were re-applying for the job. It is at the discretion of the employer to determine if the service would be continued. If the employer accepts said withdrawal, the employee retains his job. If the employer does not, the employee cannot claim illegal dismissal for the employer has the right to determine who his employees will be.

Under the contract, it is the ship's Master who determines where a seaman requesting relief may be "signed off." Therefore, it is erroneous that the resignation was only effective in Greece and that because he was not immediately allowed to disembark in (as the employer wanted compliance with the contractual conditions for termination on the part of the employee), the resignation was to be deemed automatically withdrawn. To sustain it would be to authorize undue oppression of the employer. After all, "the law, in protecting the rights of the laborer, authorizes neither oppression nor self-destruction of the employer."

IV. Fallo

WHEREFORE, the petition is GRANTED. The questioned resolution of the National Labor Relations Commission dated 11 December 1987 is hereby REVERSED and SET ASIDE and the decision of then POEA Administrator Patricia Sto. Tomas dated 20 December 1983 is REVIVED. No pronouncement as to costs.

Separate Opinions

There are no separate opinions.

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