Manila, Philippines – The Manila regional trial court has declared unlawful the mass layoff of 1,197 employees of the Manila City Hall and ordered their reinstatement and payment of their back wages.
In a 13-page decision dated June 20, Judge Daniel Villanueva directed Heidi Rosero, officer-in-charge of the city’s budget office, and acting city treasurer Marissa de Guzman to disburse their salaries and other fees for services rendered since their dismissal on April 1.
The case had 26 petitioners representing the 1,197 casual and contractual employees.
They comprised 789 administrative aides and 408 consultants and researchers employed by Vice Mayor Isko Moreno and assigned to the different offices in the city council.
The petitioners were represented by lawyer Veronica Lladoc.
City legal officer Renato de la Cruz earlier maintained that the appointments of the dismissed City Hall workers were not approved by Mayor Alfredo Lim, adding that the vice mayor’s authority to appoint is limited only to permanent employees.
But Judge Villanueva rejected De la Cruz’s claim that there were irregularities in the appointment of casual employees in the city council.
The judge also dismissed the mayor’s allegations that some of the sacked City Hall workers could be “ghost” employees.
“The livelihood of petitioners and their families are at stake. Most of them are lowly paid, living below minimum wage and on a hand-to-mouth existence. Their minute salaries could sometimes spell the difference between life and death,” Villanueva said in his order.
Last March 2, Lim issued Executive Order No. 15 ordering the termination of temporary, casual, job order, consultants and project employees of the City Hall.
Meanwhile, Lim yesterday gave Moreno and 28 city councilors until June 30 to produce the personal data sheets of their consultants, researchers and casual employees whose salaries have been paid by the city government for the past years but have not appeared personally to claim their pay.
Lim said that should they fail to do so, he will hold the salaries for the office of the vice mayor, the city councilors and their staff.
Lim noted that of the 38 councilors, only nine have complied with the requirement of submitting the personal data sheets (PDS) of their employees. -Sandy Araneta The Philippine Star Updated