In 1998 a radio officer filed a complaint for illegal dismissal. The case eventually reached the Supreme Court in July 2011.(1) The court ruled that the dismissal was proper, since enough evidence had been presented by the ship's master and other officers to demonstrate that the officer had been guilty of "sowing intrigue and dissension on board the vessel", "inefficiency and neglect of duty" and "insubordination or disobedience of the lawful orders of the [master]". The evidence included letters from the master, the chief officer and the first assistant engineer. The court ruled that the evidence was not refuted and should therefore be considered as sufficient to support the charges.

However, the court awarded the officer nominal damages of Ps30,000 ($700), as he had been dismissed summarily, without being given reasonable time to explain his side of the story and, if necessary, make a written statement. The court ruled that "while this lapse in procedure cannot negate the existence of a valid cause for [the officer's] dismissal, the violation of his right to procedural due process warrants the payment of indemnity in the form of nominal damages".

For further information on this topic please contact Ruben T Del Rosario at Del Rosario & Del Rosario law Offices by telephone (+63 2 810 1791), fax (+63 2 817 1740) or email ([email protected]).


(1) Abosta Shipmanagement Corporation v NLRC, GR No 163252, Second Division, July 27 2011, Associate Justice Arturo Brion, Ponente.