Tag Archives: Philippine lawyer



We have often heard of decisions of the High Court ordering the reinstatement of dismissed employees and the payment of their backwages from the time of their dismissal up to actual reinstatement.  The basis for such rulings is usually Article 279 of the Labor Code of the Philippines, as amended.


The Supreme Court, however, had elucidated on the statutory intent on the matter and nature of the twin remedies of reinstatement and payment of backwages in the case of De Guzman vs. National Labor Relations Commission, et al. (371 Phil 192), viz:


“The normal consequences of a finding that an employee has been 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 back wages corresponding to the period from his illegal dismissal up to actual reinstatement. The rationale therefor is clearly obvious. Reinstatement restores the employee to the position from which he was removed, i.e., to his status quo ante dismissal, while the grant of backwages allows the same employee to recover from the employer that which he lost by way of wages because of his dismissal. These twin remedies of reinstatement and payment of back wages make whole the dismissed employee, who can then look forward to continued employment. These two remedies give meaning and substance to the constitutional right of labor to security of tenure.

However, the two remedies are distinct and separate. Though the grant of reinstatement commonly carries with it an award of back wages, the inappropriateness or non-availability of one does not carry with it the inappropriateness or non-availability of the other. Reinstatement is a restoration to a state from which one has been removed or separated. On the other hand, the payment of backwages is a form of relief that restores the income that was lost by reason of the unlawful dismissal. The award of one is not a condition precedent to an award of another. Backwages may be ordered without ordering reinstatement; conversely, reinstatement may be ordered without payment of back wages.

Thus, in a number of cases, the Court, despite its order of reinstatement or award of separation pay in lieu of reinstatement deemed it appropriate not to award back wages as penalty for the misconduct or infractions committed by the employee.”(371 Phil 192, 273-275).


In the recent case of Holcim Philippines Inc. vs. Renante J. Obra (G.R. No. 220998, 08 August 2016), the Supreme Court ruled that a dismissed employee may be reinstated without backwages if the following parameters are present: a) the fact that the dismissal of the employee would be too harsh a penalty; and b)  that the employer was in good faith in terminating the employee.  When the guilt of the employee is substantially established but his dismissal may be too drastic, he may be reinstated without backwages.  Denial of backwages would sufficiently penalize the employee for his infraction.  Furthermore, the good faith of the employer, when clear under the circumstances, may preclude or diminish recovery of backwages.  Only an employee discriminately dismissed is entitled to backpay. (Pepsi-Cola Products Phils. Inc. vs. Molon, 704 Phil. 120, 144-145).



On 07 April 2016, Dr. Falk Pharma Gmbh, a pharmaceutical company based in Germany that specializes in the development and sales of medication for indications in hepatology and gastroenterology, appointed Estrebillo Law Office as its agent and attorney in fact in the Philippines, in relation to its petition for renewal of registration of the following trademarks: BUDENOFALK, DR. FALK (DEVICE), SALOFALK and URSOFALK.  The Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines was formally notified of the said appointment on 28 April 2016.


Dr. Falk Pharma GmbH is an independent family firm based in Freiburg im Breigau, Germany.  Its innovative drugs for bowel and liver diseases are sold in 61 countries, including the Philippines. The company’s pharmaceuticals are used for successfully treating inflammatory bowel disease, cholestatic liver disease, irritable bowel syndrome, and constipation, as well as for colon cleansing prior to colonoscopies.


In 1974, the company launched Chenofalk®, the first ever bile acid for the medicinal dissolution of gall-bladder stones. This was followed by the second bile acid preparation, Ursofalk®, which is still the leading medication for the treatment of cholestatic liver diseases today. In 1984, the company brought out Salofalk®, the world’s first mesalazine preparation for treating inflammatory bowel diseases. In 1998, it added to its wide range of products for the treatment of inflammatory bowel disease Budenofalk®, a corticosteroid product for topical action.


Dr. Falk Pharma Gmbh first appointed Estrebillo Law Office as its agent or representative and attorney in fact, in relation to its existing Letters Patent and Certificates of Registration, as well as new patent and trademark applications in the Philippines, in the year 2011.


Source: www.drfalkpharma.de


The sign “NOTARY PUBLIC” can be seen in almost every street corner near the building of a local government agency, a government office, and even the courts.  There are times that the name of a particular lawyer appears to be the same “Notary Public” who notarizes documents in different “notarial offices” in different parts of the city. Amazingly, the omnipresent Notary Public has separate Notarial Register in each of his “notarial offices”.


In the case of “Joy A. Gimeno vs. Atty. Paul Centillas Zaide” (A.C. No. 10303, 22 April 2015), a lawyer/notary public was suspended from the practice of law, his notarial commission revoked, and disqualified from being commissioned as a notary public for a period of two (2) years, for keeping different notarial registers in several offices.  The Supreme Court, in penalizing the erring lawyer/notary public, ruled that:


“The Notarial Practice Rules strictly requires a notary public to maintain only one active notarial register and ensure that the entries in it are chronologically arranged.  The ‘one active notarial register’ rule is in place to deter a notary public from assigning several notarial registers to different offices manned by assistants who perform notarial services on his behalf.

Since a notarial commission is personal to each lawyer, the notary public shall also personally administer the notarial acts that the law authorizes him to execute.  This important duty is vested with public interest. Thus, no other person, other than the notary public, should perform it.

On the other hand, entries in a notarial register, need to be in chronological sequence in order to address and prevent the rampant practice of leaving blank spaces in the notarial register to allow the antedating of notarizations.”


The High Court also emphasized that a flagrant violation of the Notarial Practice Rules is not merely a simple and excusable negligence, but a clear violation of Canon 1 of the Code of Professional Responsibility.