Workers’ claim limit illegal, says high court

Published by rudy Date posted on April 1, 2009

THE Supreme Court has declared as unconstitutional a provision in the Migrant Workers and Overseas Filipino Act, which set limits on the salary claim of illegally dismissed workers.

The high tribunal agreed with petitioner Antonio Serrano, a Filipino seafarer, who said that a clause in the fifth paragraph of Section 10 of the migrant workers act violates the Filipino workers’ right to equal protection and due process.

Serrano had filed a complaint against Gallant Maritime Services Inc. and Marlow Navigation Co. Ltd., for constructive dismissal and demanding payment for the unexpired portion of his contract equivalent to nine months and 23 days.

That provision states that “in case of termination of overseas employment without just, valid or authorized cause as defined by law or contract, the workers shall be entitled to the full reimbursement of his placement fee with interest of 12 percent per annum, plus his salaries for the unexpired portion of his employment contract or for three months for every year of the unexpired term, whichever is less.”

According to the high court, the disputed clause “or for three months for every year of the unexpired term, whichever is less” violates three sections of the Constitution— Section 1, Article III and Section 18, Article II and Section 3, Article XIII on labor as a protected sector.

Section 1 provides that “no person shall be deprived of life, liberty, or property without due process of law nor shall any person be denied the equal protection of the law.”

On the other hand, Section 18, Article II and Section 3, Article XIII accord all members of the labor sector full protection of their rights and welfare.–Rey E. Requejo, Manila Standard Today

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