Due Process

1. Concept

Due process is essentially the opportunity to be heard.

The very essence of due process is reflected in the ancient and immortal words said in Greek Mythology: Strike, but hear me first!

Before the employer may impose a penalty as a result of a disciplinary action, the employees should know what they are being accused of and that they be given an ample opportunity to explain. This is but only fair and just, especially if it could lead to termination of his employment.

“In times past, when due process was more of a myth — empty accusations have had its day. In a more enlightened age, a sage was heard to say — “Strike me if you must, but hear me first!” We have come a long way, indeed, for in our time one who is required to answer for an alleged wrong must at least know what is it all about.” (Dadubo v. Development Bank of the Philippines, G.R. No. 106498, 28 June 1993 citing the cry of Themistocles to Eurybiades in Greek Mythology)

The opportunity to be heard, however, is not necessarily in the form of a formal administrative hearing or a trial type proceeding. As early as now, it should be emphasized that the employer is simply required to provide the employee an ample opportunity to beard, either via a formal administrative hearing or a written explanation.

The requirements of due process are satisfied “where the parties are afforded fair and reasonable opportunity to explain their side in the controversy. (Perez v. Philippine Telegraph and Telephone Company, G.R. No. 152048, 07 April 2009)

Thus, DOLE Department Order No. 147, Series of 2015 (hereinafter D.O. 147-15) reminds employers of the constitutional right to security of tenure by the employees and the observance of the due process, viz:

Section 1. Guiding Principles. The workers’ right to security of tenure is guaranteed under the Philippine Constitution and other laws and regulations. No employee shall be terminated from work except for just or authorized cause and upon observance of due process.

Further, the said regulation requires that, in all cases of termination, “the standards of due process laid down in Article 299 (b) of the Labor Code, as amended, and settled jurisprudence on the matter, must be observed.” (Section 5, Rule I-A, DOLE D.O. 147-15)

2. Substantive Due Process

Substantive due process refers to the valid grounds for termination of employment.

There are two aspects of substantive due process: just causes and authorized causes. In either case, Labor Law allow the employer to let go of the employee.

For just causes, the employees are dismissed due to their fault or negligence. (Section 4 [b], Rule I-A, Ibid.)

In authorized causes, the employees are separated from employment due to “the necessity and exigencies of business, changing economic conditions and illness of the employee.” (Section 4 [a], Rule I-A, Ibid.)

3. Procedural Due Process

Procedural due process refers to the step-by-step flow of letting go an employee.

The procedural due process for just cause termination and authorized cause separation – are different.

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