In a 10-page decision, the Court of Appeals’ 12th
Division did not give credence to the broadcaster’s claim that cameramen Danilo de la Cruz, Ricky Villarin, Rolin Pilante, and Johnny Anitor, Jr. were not paid fixed amounts as it never employed them.
“It is beyond cavil that private respondents have attained the status of a regular employment not only because of the nature of their work in relation to petitioner’s [GMA Network] business but also because the duration of their employment,” the court said.
GMA Network argued that there was no employer-employee relationship between the parties, as it asserted that the cameramen were engaged as relievers in several television shows of the network.
The network also argued that the cameramen never filed any application for employment, and were paid on a per-shoot basis depending on the budget of a particular television show.
The cameramen, who were employed between 2011 and 2012, argued that they were regular GMA employees, saying that their work schedules were provided by the network; that they have pay-slips for their wages; and, that they were ordered to strictly follow the rules and regulations of the company — all are requirements for regular employment under the Philippine labor law.
The appellate court’s ruling upholds an earlier decision by the National Labor Relations Commission (NLRC).
“The mere fact that they were paid on a ‘per shoot’ or ‘per day’ basis is immaterial as the same does not define the essence of the relation. It is just a method of computing compensation and cannot serve as a basis for determining the existence or non-existence of employer-employee relationship,” the court said.
The court also echoed the NLRC’s findings that they are regular employees as GMA required them to stay in the worksite before, during, and after the duration of the tapings and shootings. — RDM