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Henry Delada was the Union President of the Manila Pavilion Supervisors Association at the Manila Pavilion Hotel (MPH). He was originally assigned as Head Waiter of Rotisserie, a fine-dining restaurant operated by MPH. Pursuant to a supervisory personnel reorganization program, MPH reassigned him as Head Waiter of Seasons Coffee Shop, another restaurant at MPH. Respondent declined the inter-outlet transfer and instead asked for a grievance meeting on the matter, pursuant to their CBA. He also requested his retention as Head Waiter of Rotisserie while the grievance procedure was ongoing.
MPH replied and told Delada to report to his new assignment for the time being, without prejudice to the resolution of the grievance involving the transfer. He adamantly refused to assume his new post at the Seasons Coffee Shop and instead continued to report to his previous assignment. Thus, MPH sent him several memoranda on various dates, requiring him to explain in writing why he should not be penalized for the following offenses: serious misconduct; willful disobedience of the lawful orders of the employer; gross insubordination; gross and habitual neglect of duties; and willful breach of trust.
Meanwhile, the parties failed to reach a settlement. Consequently, Delada lodged a Complaint before the NCMB. While the Complaint concerning the validity of his transfer was pending before the Panel of Voluntary Arbitrators (PVA), MPH continued with the disciplinary action against him for his refusal to report to his new post at Seasons Coffee Shop.
The PVA issued a Decision and ruled that the transfer of Delada was a valid exercise of management prerogative. The PVA thus pronounced that Delada had no valid and justifiable reason to refuse or even to delay compliance with the management's directive. The CA affirmed the Decision of the PVA and denied petitioners Motion for Reconsideration.
Whether the voluntary arbitrator had plenary jurisdiction and authority to interpret the agreement to arbitrate and to determine the scope of his own authority.
Yes. The Court cited a previously ruled case wherein it ruled that the voluntary arbitrator had plenary jurisdiction and authority to interpret the agreement to arbitrate and to determine the scope of his own authority—subject only, in a proper case, to the certiorari jurisdiction of the Court. In that case, the specific issue presented was “the issue of performance bonus.”
The Court then held that the arbitrator had the authority to determine not only the issue of whether or not a performance bonus was to be granted, but also the related question of the amount of bonus, were it to be granted. The Court then said that there was no indication at all that the parties to the arbitration agreement had regarded “the issue of performance bonus” as a two-tiered issue, only one aspect of which was being submitted to arbitration; thus, the Court held that the failure of the parties to specifically limit the issues to that which was stated allowed the arbitrator to assume jurisdiction over the related issue.