MANILA, Philippines - The Court of Appeals (CA) has junked a complaint for regularization and money claims filed against ABS-CBN Broadcasting Corp. by its dismissed talents engaged as independent contractors from 1994 to 1999.
In a 20-page ruling penned by Associate Justice Stephen Cruz, the appellate court's Special 14th Division reinstated the labor arbiter’s decision dated March 26, 2004 dismissing the case against the broadcast giant and reversing a decision dated Oct. 29, 2009 and a resolution dated Oct. 29, 2010 by the National Labor Relations Commission (NLRC) in favor of the talents.
The appellate court said "private respondents (talents) have failed to prove that they are regular employees of the petitioner (ABS-CBN). The ruling held that there was substantial evidence showing that complainants were “talents” who were engaged by ABS-CBN as independent contractors and were paid talent fees as shown in their pay-slips.
The petition for review lodged by ABS-CBN were against the NLRC and complainants Albert del Rosario, Arthur Dungog, Ismael, Dablo, Reynaldo Tugade, Isagani Taotao, Roilo Andrew Ramano, Edwin Sagun, Apolinar Dela Gracia, George Macaso, Sengkly Eslabra, Eric Biglang-awa, Reynaldo Cruz, Carlo Dionisio, Paul Viray, Ernesto Cruz, Lorenzo Alano, Crisanto Panlubasan, Roberto Sanchez, Rolando Barron, Rey Santiago, Nelson Lucas, Philbert Acharon and Roberto del Castillo.
The labor arbiter ruled that “complainants’ functions as cameramen, lightmen, drivers and systems engineer for the production crew are related to the production of television programs and not to the broadcast of the same. Broadcasting, which is indisputably the primary business of ABS-CBN, is not the same as the production of television and radio programs.”
The arbiter also held that there was no employer-employee relationship between ABS-CBN and the complainants.
In its October 2009 ruling, the NLRC reversed the decision of the arbiter which prompted the broadcast firm to elevate the case before the CA.