Having found that respondents are regular employees who may be, however, dismissed for cause as we have so found in this case, there is a need to look into the procedural requirement of due process in Section 2, Rule XXIII, Book V of the Rules Implementing the Labor Code. It is required that the employer furnish the employee with two written notices: (1) a written notice served on the employee specifying the ground or grounds for termination, and giving to said employee reasonable opportunity within which to explain his side; and (2) a written notice of termination served on the employee indicating that upon due consideration of all the circumstances, grounds have been established to justify his termination.
From the records, there was only one written notice which required respondents to explain within five (5) days why they should not be dismissed from the service. Alcovendas was the only one who signed the receipt of the notice. The others, as claimed by Lynvil, refused to sign. The other employees argue that no notice was given to them. Despite the inconsistencies, what is clear is that no final written notice or notices of termination were sent to the employees.
The twin requirements of notice and hearing constitute the elements of [due] process in cases of employee’s dismissal. The requirement of notice is intended to inform the employee concerned of the employer’s intent to dismiss and the reason for the proposed dismissal. Upon the other hand, the requirement of hearing affords the employee an opportunity to answer his employer’s charges against him and accordingly, to defend himself therefrom before dismissal is effected. Obviously, the second written notice, as indispensable as the first, is intended to ensure the observance of due process.
Applying the rule to the facts at hand, we grant a monetary award of P50,000.00 as nominal damages, this, pursuant to the fresh ruling of this Court in Culili v. Eastern Communication Philippines, Inc. Due to the failure of Lynvil to follow the procedural requirement of two-notice rule, nominal damages are due to respondents despite their dismissal for just cause.
Given the fact that their dismissal was for just cause, we cannot grant backwages and separation pay to respondents. However, following the findings of the Labor Arbiter who with the expertise presided over the proceedings below, which findings were affirmed by the Court of Appeals, we grant the 13th month pay and salary differential of the dismissed employees.