Proof of Service

1. Concept

Proof of service – refers to evidence presented before a labor court to show or establish that proper service of a required notice or document has been served to a person.

2. Service

Service – refers to the act of delivering a notice or document to a person.

Delivery – refers to the act of handing, giving, or dropping a notice or document in the physical/actual presence of the person intended to be served.

a. Service as delivery

Service means delivery, not receipt. This is because it is public knowledge that many individuals refuse to receive legal notices, demand letters, and other documents, particularly if it involves a lawsuit or potential liability.

Thus, the requirement of service means simply to deliver, to give, to hand over, and in some cases, to drop the notice or document — in front of the recipient. If the recipient refuses to sign a receiving copy, it does not matter. Insofar as the law is concerned, service has been made by delivering the notice or document to the recipient. The service can be verified/supported by a proof of service.

For example, it is a common experience by human resources (HR) that some employees refuse to sign a copy of a Notice to Explain (or memo regarding a violation). In such a case, HR may simply deliver the notice to the workstation of the employee, by dropping or leaving it on the latter’s desk. HR may attempt to get a receiving copy. If the employee refuses, it does not matter. For all intents and purposes, service has been completed. HR may simply fill up an Affidavit of Service as proof of the personal service.

b. Modes of Service

The following are the modes/ways of service:

1) By Personal Service; or

2) By Mail Service.

a. Personal Service

Personal service – refers to the delivery of a notice or document personally to and in the presence of, preferably in front of, the intended recipient.

NB: Leaving a notice or document on the desk of an employee who is not around is not personal service. It is only personal service if the delivery is made personally or in the presence of the employee.

1) Proof of Personal Service

To establish personal service, the following are the different kinds of proof of service:

1) Signed Receiving Copy; or

2) Affidavit of Personal Service.

NB: The more proof of personal service, the better. Meaning, personal service may be done multiple times or in combination with service by mail.

a) Signed Receiving Copy

Signed receiving copy – refers to a copy of the same document that has been served to the recipient and the latter has signed the copy as proof of having received it.

For example, the HR will print two copies of a Notice to Explain. One copy will be served to the employee. The other copy will be signed as received by the employee and will serve as the signed receiving copy.

b) Affidavit of Personal Service

Affidavit of Personal Service – refers to an notarized affidavit stating therein the relevant circumstances of when and where the personal service was done, as well as the reason why an affidavit was resorted to (usually because the employee refused to sign a receiving copy).

NB: The affidavit of personal service may still be resorted to even if there is a receiving copy. It will simply be an additional evidence. As for the reason, the affidavit may state therein any relevant company policies on the matter or simply that it is being resorted to as additional evidence.

b. Mail Service

Mail service – refers to the delivery of a notice or document by mail.

To establish mail service, the following are the different kinds of proof of service:

1) Affidavit of Service by Mail; or

2) Philippine Post Office Return Card.

1) Proof of Mail Service

1) Affidavit of Service by Mail; or

2) Philippine Post Office Return Card.

NB: The more proof of service by mail, the better. Meaning, mail by service may be done multiple times or in combination with personal service.

a) Affidavit of Service by Mail

Affidavit of Service by Mail – refers to a notarized affidavit stating therein the relevant circumstances of when and where the service by mail was done, as well as the reason why the affidavit was resorted to (usually because personal service was not feasible due to the employee’s absence, e.g. AWOL).

NB: The affidavit of personal service may still be resorted to even if there has been a personal service. It will simply be an additional evidence. As for the reason, the affidavit may state therein any relevant company policies on the matter or simply that it is being resorted to as additional evidence.

Service by mail may be resorted to:

1) By sending the mail via Registered Mail with Return Card service from the Philippine Post Office; and

2) Only in addition to No. 1 (meaning No. 1 should always be resorted to), by Private Courier (e.g. LBC, JRS, etc.).

1) Philippine Post Office

Sending mailing at the Philippine Post Office may be:

1) Ordinary Mail – i.e., using post stamps; or

2) Registered Mail with Return Card.

It is the Registered Mail with Return Card service which is required to be used when doing service. The reason being is that the card will be attached to the mail. Once the postpone delivers the mail, the recipient will be required to sign the card as proof of service. Thereafter, the card will be sent back to the sender.

Otherwise, if the mail is simply sent using post stamps, this card will not be attached to the mail. It would then be difficult to establish whether the mail has been served.

2) Private Courier

Private courier (e.g. LBC, JRS, etc.) should only be resorted to in addition or after doing Registered Mail with Return Card from the Philippine Post Office. It is because the current rules only provide for the latter.

However, due to the seeming unreliability of the Philippine Post Office (i.e., mails taking too long to be delivered, mails that are lost, or return cards not being returned to the sender), it has been observed in practice that some tribunals accept mail via private courier. Unfortunately, this is not generally accepted. Thus, it is best to resort to private courier only in addition to Registered Mail.

b) PhilPost Registered Mail Return Card

Philippine Post Registered Mail Return Card – refers to the card attached to a mail which is given to a recipient for signature as proof of service and thereafter sent back to the sender.

As explained earlier, the return card itself is a proof of service.

NB: While the return card is already proof of service unto itself, it is still recommended to have an Affidavit of Service by Mail as additional evidence.

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