There is no statute expressly stating that an order of reinstatement of an illegally dismissed employee issued by a Voluntary Arbitrator is immediately executory pending appeal. Article 223 of the Labor Code of the Philippines, mandating the immediate execution pending appeal of an order of reinstatement refers to an order of the Labor Arbiter. So what is the legal justification for the immediate execution of a Voluntary Arbitrator’s order of reinstatement pending appeal?
In the case of Rogelio Baronda vs. Hon. Court of Appeals and Hideco Sugar Milling Co., Inc. (G.R. No. 161006, 14 October 2015), the Supreme Court ruled that a Voluntary Arbitrator’s decision ordering the reinstatement of an illegally dismissed employee is immediately executory regardless of the timely filing of a motion for reconsideration or appeal. The rationale given by the High Court is that:
“The normal consequences of a finding that an employee was illegally dismissed are, firstly, that the employee becomes entitled to reinstatement to his former position without loss of seniority rights; and, secondly, the payment of wages corresponding to the period from his illegal dismissal up to the time of actual reinstatement. These two consequences give meaning to and substance to the constitutional right of labor to security of tenure. Reinstatement pending appeal thus affirms the constitutional mandate to protect labor and to enhance social justice . . .”
Moreover, the Highest Court of the land, in holding that the reinstatement order of the Voluntary Arbitrator has the same authority, force and effect as that issued by a Labor Arbiter, declared that there is:
“. . . no reason to obstruct the reinstatement decreed by the Voluntary Arbitrator, or to treat it any less than the reinstatement that is ordered by the Labor Arbiter. Voluntary arbitration really takes precedence over other dispute settlement devices. Such primacy of voluntary arbitration is mandated by no less than the Philippine Constitution, and is ingrained as a policy objective of our labor relations law. The reinstatement order of the Voluntary Arbitrator should have the same authority, force and effect as that of the reinstatement order by the Labor Arbiter not only to encourage parties to settle their disputes through this mode, but also, and more importantly , to enforce the constitutional mandate to protect labor, to provide security of tenure, and to enhance social justice.”