Affidavits in Labor Cases are not Hearsay for Having been taken Ex-ParteAtty Elvin
The Supreme Court (SC), in the case of JR Hauling Services vs. Solamo, (G.R. No. 214294, September 30, 2020), held that such affidavit is admissible.
According to the SC, the argument that the affidavits are hearsay for having been taken ex parte i.e., that the affiants were not presented for cross-examination, does not persuade the court. The rules of evidence prevailing in courts of law do not control proceedings before the labor tribunals where decisions may be reached on the basis of position papers, accompanied by supporting documents, including affidavits of witnesses, and other allied pleadings.
Citing the case of Bantolino vs. Coca Cola Bottlers Phils. Inc., (451 Phil. 839, 845 (2003)) the SC ruled that administrative bodies like the NLRC are not bound by the technical niceties of law and procedure and the rules obtaining in courts of law. Indeed, the Revised Rules of Court and prevailing jurisprudence may be given only stringent application, i.e., by analogy or in a suppletory character and effect.
The contention that an affidavit not testified to in a trial, is mere hearsay evidence and has no real evidentiary value, cannot find relevance in the present case considering that a criminal prosecution requires a quantum of evidence different from that of an administrative proceeding.
Learn how to Validly Terminate Employee in the Philippines with this Tutorial Video of Atty. Elvin Along the same lines, held in Southern Cotabato Development and Construction Inc. v. National Labor Relations Commission (345 Phil. 1110 (1997)) that Article 227 of the Labor Code, as amended, provides that “the rules of evidence prevailing in courts of law or equity [shall not be controlling]” and that the LA and the NLRC shall “use every and all reasonable means to ascertain the facts in each case speedily and objectively and without regard to technicalities of law and procedure, all in the interest of due process.” Clearly, to disregard the affidavits on the ground that they were taken ex-parte would necessarily require the application of the technical rules of evidence and thereby negate the purpose of the summary nature of labor proceedings mandated by the Labor Code and the NLRC Rules of Procedure.
The affidavits executed by various co-employees constitute substantial evidence to prove respondents’ involvement in the unauthorized sale of excess broilers and broiler crates. The SC is inclined to give them evidentiary weight absent any evidence to rebut their validity. It is well settled that “a document acknowledged before a notary public is a public document that enjoys the presumption of regularity. It is a prima facie evidence of the truth of the facts stated therein and a conclusive presumption of its existence and due execution.”
In Pan Pacific Industrial Sales Co., Inc. v. Court of Appeals, et al., the SC held that a notarized
document carries the evidentiary weight conferred upon it with respect to its due execution. It has in its favor the presumption of regularity, which may only be rebutted by evidence so clear, strong and convincing as to exclude all controversy as to the falsity of the certificate. Absent such evidence, the presumption must be upheld. The burden of proof to overcome the presumption of due execution of a notarial document lies in the one contesting the same.