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09 Oct

On the other hand, respondents aver that petitioners plea for this Court to review the facts and pieces of evidence presented below is contrary to the rule that the issues in cases brought before this Court via a petition for review under Rule 45 are limited only to questions of law; that respondents were forced to retire at the age of 60 by virtue of the Memorandum which the employees did not ratify or freely agree upon, hence, respondents' dismissal from work was without valid cause and due process, amounting to illegal dismissal; that the Memorandum which unilaterally directed the compulsory retirement of employees reaching the age of 60 is contrary to the security of tenure guaranteed in the Constitution, Art. The law has been enacted as a labor protection measure and as a curative statute that absent a retirement plan devised by, an agreement with, or a voluntary grant from, an employer can respond, in part at least, to the financial well-being of workers during their twilight years soon following their life of labor.There should be little doubt about the fact that the law can apply to labor contracts still existing at the time the statute has taken effect, and that its benefits can be reckoned not only from the date of the law's enactment but retroactively to the time said employment contracts have started.(1) the claimant for retirement benefits was still in the employ of the employer at the time the statute took effect; and (2) the claimant had complied with the requirements for eligibility for such retirement benefits under the statute. The petitioners failed to prove that the respondents did not comply with the requirements for eligibility under the law for such retirement benefits.Because, out of the job, he had to face harsh necessities of life.He thus found himself in no position to resist money proferred. One thing sure, however, is that petitioners did not relent their claim. They are deemed not to have waived any of their rights.There is no nexus between intelligence, or even the position which the employee held in the company when it concerns the pressure which the employer may exert upon the free will of the employee who is asked to sign a release and quitclaim.A lowly employee or a sales manager, as in the present case, who is confronted with the same dilemma of whether signing a release and quitclaim and accept what the company offers them, or refusing to sign and walk out without receiving anything, may do succumb to the same pressure, being very well aware that it is going to take quite a while before he can recover whatever he is entitled to, because it is only after a protracted legal battle starting from the labor arbiter level, all the way to this Court, can he receive anything at all. 110261, August 4, 1994, 235 SCRA 96, we held that the petitioner therein, who was a lawyer, could not renege on the release, waiver and quitclaim he executed, since lawyers are not easily coerced into signing legal documents., URSUMCO and the National Federation of Labor (NFL), a legitimate labor organization and the recognized sole and exclusive bargaining representative of all the monthly and daily paid employees of URSUMCO, of which Alejandro was a member, entered into a Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA)., premises considered, judgment is hereby rendered declaring the respondent guilty of illegal dismissal and thus ordered to pay complainants: Agripino Caballeda and Alejandro Cadalin their respective backwages from: , the NLRC held that Alejandro voluntarily retired because he freely submitted his application for retirement together with his birth and baptismal certificates.

Thus, the NLRC ruled: It is beyond doubt that [petitioner] violated the rights of the [respondents] [insofar] as the latter were not given the prerogative to choose for themselves to retire early or wait for the compulsory retirement age which is sixty[-five] (65) years.It is evident from the records that when respondents were compulsorily retired from the service, R. As such, this Court is not at liberty to review the said factual issue because our jurisdiction is generally limited to reviewing errors of law that the CA may have committed.Time and again, we have held that this Court is not a trier of facts, and it is not for us to re-examine and re-evaluate the probative value of evidence presented before the LA, the NLRC and the CA, which formed the basis of the assailed decision.If the intention to retire is not clearly established or if the retirement is involuntary, it is to be treated as discharge (San Miguel Corporation vs.National Labor Relations Commission, 293 SCRA 13, 21[,] citing the case of De Leon vs. Corollary, such involuntary retirement on the part of [respondents] was in effect an illegal dismissal.In the absence of a retirement plan or agreement providing for retirement benefits of employees in the establishment, an employee upon reaching the age of sixty (60) years or more, but not beyond sixty-five (65) years which is hereby declared the compulsory retirement age, who has served at least five (5) years in the said establishment, may retire and shall be entitled to retirement pay equivalent to at least one-half (1/2) month salary for every year of service, a fraction of at least six (6) months being considered as one whole year.Unless the parties provide for broader inclusions, the term one-half (1/2) month salary shall mean fifteen (15) days plus one-twelfth (1/12) of the 13th month pay and the cash equivalent of not more than five (5) days of service incentive leaves.Indeed, when their findings are in absolute agreement, the same are accorded not only respect but even finality as long as they are amply supported by substantial evidence.In this case, it is noteworthy that the LA, the NLRC and the CA are one in ruling that Agripino was not a casual employee much less a seasonal or project employee.Petitioners postulate that respondents voluntarily retired particularly when Alejandro filed his application for retirement, submitted all the documentary requirements, accepted the retirement benefits and executed a quitclaim in favor of URSUMCO.Respondents claim otherwise, contending that they were merely forced to comply as they were Generally, the law looks with disfavor on quitclaims and releases by employees who have been inveigled or pressured into signing them by unscrupulous employers seeking to evade their legal responsibilities and frustrate just claims of employees.