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Petitioner Jaguar Security and Investigation Agency ("Jaguar") is a private corporation engaged in the business of providing security services to its clients, one of whom is Delta Milling Industries, Inc. ("Delta").
Respondent security guards instituted the instant labor case before the labor arbiter.The labor arbiter rendered a decision in favor of private respondents Sales. Petitioner Jaguar filed a partial appeal questioning the failure of public respondent NLRC to resolve its cross-claim against Delta as the party ultimately liable for payment of the monetary award to the security guards. The NLRC dismissed the appeal, holding that it was not the proper forum to raise the issue.
It went on to say that Jaguar, being the direct employer of the security guards, is the one principally liable to the employees. Thus, it directed petitioner to file a separate civil action for recovery of the amount before the regular court having jurisdiction over the subject matter, for the purpose of proving the liability of Delta.
Petitioner Jaguar filed a petition for certiorari with the CA and dismissed the petition for lack of merit.
Whether the Labor Arbiter has the jurisdiction to try the case.
No, Article 217 of the Labor Code provides that Labor Arbiter will only try the case if there is an employer-employee relationship. This is an indispensable jurisdictional requisite; and there is none in this case.
Here, there exists no employer-employee relationship between petitioner and Delta Milling. In its cross-claim, petitioner is not seeking any relief under the Labor Code but merely reimbursement of the monetary benefits claims awarded and to be paid to the guard employees. There is no labor dispute involved in the cross-claim against Delta Milling. Rather, the cross-claim involves a civil dispute between petitioner and Delta Milling. Petitioner's cross-claim is within the realm of civil law, and jurisdiction over it belongs to the regular courts.