Commission of a Crime

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1. Concept

The crime or offense should be against the person.

Simply stated, crimes against the person presupposes bodily harm inflicted on the victim. These kinds of offenses are specifically provided in the Revised Penal Code:

Parricide, Murder, Homicide

1) Parricide

2) Death or physical injuries inflicted under exceptional circumstances

3) Murder

4) Homicide

5) Death caused in a tumultuous affray

6) Physical injuries inflicted in a tumultuous affray

7) Giving assistance to suicide

8) Discharge of firearms

Infanticide and Abortion

1) Infanticide

2) Intentional abortion

3) Unintentional abortion

4) Abortion practiced by the woman herself or by her parents

5) Abortion practiced by a physician or midwife dispensing of abortives

Duel

1) Duel

2) Challenging to a Duel

Physical Injuries

1) Mutilation

2) Serious Physical Injuries

3) Administering injurious substances or beverages

4) Less serious physical injuries

5) Slight physical injuries and maltreatment

Accordingly, to properly use this a just cause, the crime or offense committed should have resulted in some form of bodily injury to a person.

However, this does not rule out other crimes or offenses from being a just cause (e.g. qualified theft, libel, robbery, etc.), they can fall under analogous cause similar to commission of a crime, serious misconduct, fraud, or any other just cause.

2. Standards

DOLE D.O. 147-15 provides for the standards.

To be a valid ground for termination, the following must be present:

  1. There must be an act or omission punishable/prohibited by law; and
  2. The act or omission was committed by the employee against the person of employer, any immediate member of his/her family, or his/her duly authorized representative.

The following discusses each requirement.

a. Punishable act or omission

1st requisite: There must be an act or omission punishable/prohibited by law.

The Labor Code is clear when it expressly required that the act or omission should constitute a crime or offense. Technically, offenses refer to violations of the Revised Penal Code, while crimes are broader to include criminal violations of special laws. Whether a crime or offense, the key thing to remember is that such act or omission is punishable/prohibited by law.

b. Crime against the person of the employer

2nd requisite: The act or omission was committed by the employee against the person of employer, any immediate member of his/her family, or his/her duly authorized representative.

There are two parts to note in this requirement.

First, it emphasizes that the crime or offense committed should be committed against the person of those enumerated. Again, this refers to bodily harm resulting into an injury.

Second, the crime or offense should be committed against these persons:

1) The employer;

2) Any immediate member of the employer’s family; or

3) The employer’s duly authorized representative.

Based on the above requirements, this just cause cannot be used as a ground for dismissal where the crime or offense was committed against a non-employee and outside the work premises.

•••

CASE STUDY

International Rice Research Institute v. Micosa

G.R. No. 97239, 12 May 1993

[An employee-laborer was dismissed for having stabbed to death another person at a beerhouse.]

Article 282 of the Labor Code enumerates the just causes wherein an employer may terminate an employment. Verily, conviction of a crime involving moral turpitude is not one of these justifiable causes. Neither may said ground be justified under Article 282 (c) nor under 282 (d) by analogy… On the other hand, the commission of a crime by the employee under Article 282 (d) refer to an offense against the person of his employer or any immediate member of his family or his duly authorized representative…

In the case at bar, the commission of the crime of homicide was outside the perimeter of the IRRI complex, having been committed in a restaurant after office hours and against a non-IRRI employee. Thus, the conviction of Micosa for homicide was not work-related, his misdeed having no relation to his position as laborer and was not directed or committed against IRRI or its authorized agent.

Besides, IRRI failed to show how the dismissal of Micosa would be in consideration of the safety and welfare of its employees, its reputation and standing in the community and its special obligations to its host country. It did not present evidence to show that Micosa possessed a tendency to kill without provocation or that he posed a clear and present danger to the company and its personnel. On the contrary, the records reveal that Micosa’s service record is unblemished. There is no record whatsoever that he was involved in any incident similar to that which transpired on that fateful night of February 6, 1987. In fact, even after his conviction, the IRRI’s Director General expressed his confidence in him when he disapproved his application for special separation in a letter dated January 8, 1990 and when he conveyed to him IRRI’s decision to promote him to the status of a regular core employee, with the commensurate increases in benefits in a letter dated February 1990. Respondent IRRI derogates the letters’ significance saying that they were mere pro-forma communications which it had given to numerous other workers. But whether or not such letters were “form letters, they expressed the message that were meant to be conveyed, i.e., that Micosa is fit for continued employment. In addition, the employees at IRRI’s Grievance Committee interceded favorably in behalf of Micosa when they recommended his retention despite his conviction showing that the very employees which IRRI sought to protect did not believe that they were placing their very own lives in danger with Micosa’s retention.

•••

If an employee commits a crime or offense against the person of a non-employee and outside the workplace, it becomes a private matter between the said employee and the victim. Consequently, the employer cannot such situation as a just cause under commission of a crime or offense.

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Disclaimer: All information is for educational and general information only. These should not be taken as professional legal advice or opinion. Please consult a competent lawyer to address your specific concerns. Any statements or opinions of the author are solely his own and do not reflect that of any organization he may be connected.

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