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This case arose from a complaint for illegal dismissal filed by Florentino and Nilda on May 18, 2000 against UPI, its President Cesar Duque, Executive Vice-President Juan Llamas Amor and Director for Student Affairs Dominador Reyes.
In a Decision dated November 6, 2000, Labor Arbiter Rolando D. Gambito ruled that Florentino and Nilda were illegally dismissed by UPI ordering [UPI] to pay backwages, allowances and other benefits computed from the date of their dismissal on May 9, 2000 up to November 6, 2000, date of promulgation of decision and instead of reinstatement of [Florentino and Nilda] to their former positions, [the petitioners] should pay them separation pay equivalent to one (1) month salary for every year of service, a fraction of at least six (6) months shall be considered as one (1) whole year.
Whether the reckoning period is not interrupted by the NLRC's reversal of LA Gambito's finding of
NO. In Gonzales, the Court stated that the increase in the amount that the corporation had to pay "is a consequence that it cannot avoid as it is the risk that it ran when it continued to seek recourses against the [LA's] decision." Further, in Reyes v. NLRC, et al., the Court declared that:
One of the natural consequences of a finding that an employee has been illegally dismissed is the payment of backwages corresponding to the period from his dismissal up to actual reinstatement. The statutory intent of this matter is clearly discernible. The payment of backwages allows the employee to recover from the employer that which he has lost by way of wages as a result of his dismissal. Logically, it must be computed from the date of petitioner's illegal dismissal up to the time of actual reinstatement. There can be no gap or interruption, lest we defeat the very reason of the law in granting the same.
Although in Reyes, the issue relates to the delay in filing of the complaint for illegal dismissal from the time of termination, there is no preclusion to apply the doctrine that there should be no gap or interruption in the reckoning period during which the dismissed employee is entitled to backwages and benefits. The statutory intent in the award of backwages and benefits is clear. Further, as declared in Gonzales, an employer takes a risk in assailing the LA's finding of illegal dismissal, but there is no insulation from the consequences therefrom.