NLRC issues return-to-work order for former ABS-CBN reporter, three others

by Arniel C. Serato
Jun 5, 2020
The National Labor Relations Commission (NLRC) orders ABS-CBN Corporation to pay complainants Rowena "Wheng" Hidalgo-Otida, Jerome "Jay" Manahan, Ricky de Belen, and John Cuba P100K each for exemplary and moral damages.
PHOTO/S: Jerome Ascano

Naglabas ng return-to-work order ang National Labor Relations Commission para sa dating reporter at tatlong dating empleyado ng ABS-CBN.

Ito ay base sa desisyong inilabas ni Labor Arbiter Leilani Braza-Oro noong Pebrero 6, 2020, kaugnay sa kasong inihain laban sa ABS-CBN ng dating reporter nitong si Rowena "Wheng" Hidalgo-Otida at dating mga empleyadong sina Jerome "Jay" Manahan, John Cuba, at Ricky de Belen.

Pumanaw si De Belen dalawang buwan na ang nakararaan sa isang motorcycle accident.

Ayon sa ulat ng Pilipino Star Ngayon (PSN) noong June 3, Miyerkules, umabot sa labimpitong taon ang pakikipaglaban nina Hidalgo sa reklamo nila kaugnay ng regularisasyon sa dating pinagtatrabahuang network.

Pahayag ni Manahan, "[O]bligado po ngayon ang ABS-CBN na ibalik kami sa trabaho.”

Nakasaad din sa desisyon ng labor arbiter na kailangang ibalik ng ABS-CBN Corporation ang tinanggal na mga empleyado sa kanilang dating posisyon.

Wala naman daw “back wages” na nakalagay sa order.

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Immediatley executory ang order ng NLRC, pero maaari pa itong iapela.

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DAMAGES

Ayon naman sa ulat ng Hataw tabloid nitong Huwebes, June 4, ipinag-utos ng labor arbiter na bayaran ng Kapamilya network ng halagang P100K ang bawat isang complainant.

Ang nasabing halaga ay nahahati sa P50,000 para sa exemplary damages at P50,000 sa moral damages, at 10 porsiyento para sa bayad sa kanilang mga abugado.

Iniutos din ng NLRC na pabalikin sa trabaho sina Hidalgo, Manahan, at Cuba sa loob ng 15 araw matapos matanggap ng ABS-CBN ang order.

Maaaring sa mga dating trabaho raw nila o sa katumbas na posisyon.

Unang naghain ng kaso ang mga complainant noong June 2003, ngunit ibinasura ito ng NLRC.

August 2004, inapela ito nina Hidalgo, Manahan, De Belen, at Cuba.

October 2009, binaligtad ng First Division ng NLRC ang desisyon at pinaboran nito ang complainants.

Umabot pa ang kaso sa Korte Suprema.

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WHENG HIDALGO-OTIDA LABOR CASE VS ABS-CBN

Labing-anim na taong nagtatrabaho si Hidalgo sa ABS-CBN, pero hindi siya naging regular employee.

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Ang naging isyu ni Hidalgo sa ABS-CBN ay muling binuhay ng mga pabor sa pagsasara ng Kapamilya network.

Noong February 2020, sa kasagsagan ng usapin tungkol sa mapapaso pa lamang noong prangkisa ng ABS-CBN, lumutang ang isang artikulo ng Bulatlat.com na unang lumabas noong September 2010.

May titulong “For ABS-CBN, Six to 16 Years of Service to the Company Does Not Seem to Matter,” inungkat dito ang panayam kay Hidalgo noong natanggal siya sa ABS-CBN taong 2007.

Bahagi ng nakasaad sa ulat: “Her termination (or end of contract, from the point of view of ABS-CBN management) followed the DOLE decision saying Hidalgo is supposed to be treated as a regular employee by ABS-CBN.

"It turned out that despite having been with ABS-CBN for 16 years, Hidalgo is not a regular but a contractual employee.

"She said they sometimes work without contract.

"Although the DOLE decision has favored her, the ABS-CBN does not appear in the mood to follow it."

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Dagdag pa sa ulat: "When Hidalgo’s latest six-month employment contract lapsed last August 31, the ABS-CBN management 'offered' her a 'regularization package' that neither recognized her 16-year tenure nor promised her the backwages and other benefits that she should have received for much of 16 years, if ABS-CBN had followed the law and recognized her as a regular employee.

"The so-called regularization gave her the salary rates of a starting reporter.

"On top of it, ABS-CBN wanted Hidalgo to drop her labor complaint.

“'How could I accept that?' Hidalgo asked.”

Ayon naman sa ulat ng Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility (CMFR) noong October 2010, isa si Hidalgo sa lagpas 100 tauhan ng ABS-CBN na tinanggal noong taong iyon.

Sa artikulong may titulong "Sacked: ABS-CBN fires more employees," idinetalye rito ang naging kalbaryo ni Hidalgo at iba pang dating mga tauhan ng ABS-CBN.

Bahagi sa nakalagay sa 2010 website ng CFMR: “Hidalgo was elated when the network offered her a regularization contract last September.

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“But her happiness quickly faded when ABS-CBN refused to honor her 16 years in service. She was also asked to drop her labor complaint against the company.

"She declined the offer and in a few days found herself out of work.

"Hidalgo is among the increasing number of ABS-CBN employees who have been sacked since June this year.

"Based on the latest count of the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP), a total of 112 ABS-CBN employees have so far been sacked, an increase from the 40 the Center for Media Freedom and Responsibilty (CMFR) first reported last Aug. 2.”

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HIDALGO MOVES ON FROM DISPUTE WITH ABS-CBN

Sa kanyang Facebook post nitong February 20, 2020, nagbigay ng pahayag si Hidalgo sa pagkakaladkad ng kanyang pangalan sa usapin ng ABS-CBN franchise.

Hindi raw niya maintindihan kung bakit ang isang lumang artikulo ay kailangang gamitin sa ibang isyung kinasasangkutan ng ABS-CBN.

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Ayon pa kay Hidalgo, matagal na siyang naka-move on sa sigalot niya sa ABS-CBN.

Saad niya, “I don’t understand why a 10 YEAR OLD ARTICLE would be used by some to create a different narrative and relate it to a divisive issue hounding us today. The title was TAKEN OUT OF CONTEXT.

“The subject of the story was not updated, the writer did not even seek my consent to republish it.”

Dagdag pa niya, nanatiling tikom ang kanyang bibig tungkol sa kaso laban sa ABS-CBN hanggang ngayon.

Pero kahit daw may hindi sila pagkakaunawaan ng management, tinatanaw pa rin niyang utang na loob ang ilang taong namalagi siya sa istasyon.

“I have kept my silence about this case for years, but FOR THE SAKE OF FAIRNESS I am speaking out now.

“ABS-CBN may not be perfect but it was a big part of my life.

“I will always be grateful for the years I’ve spent there. Whatever happened along the way in the past is one chapter of my own story.

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“I have since healed and have moved forward.

“I am not TRYING TO RIDE ALONG with the issue.”

Pakiusap pa niya: “So I ASK ALL THOSE PUSHING THEIR OWN INTERESTS, please STOP using my labor case against the company as it is still in the court. Thank you.”

Ngunit ngayon ay mayroon nang desisyon ang korte kaugnay ng isinampa niyang kaso.

Nakipag-ugnayan ang PEP.ph (Philippine Entertainment Portal) kay Hidalgo ngayong Huwebes, June 4, upang kunan ng pahayag.

Hindi pa siya tumutugon sa aming mensahe.

May 5, 2020 nagpaalam sa ere ang ABS-CBN dahil sa cease and desist order ng National Telecommunications Commission (NTC).

Ito ay matapos mapaso ang prangkisa ng network giant noong May 4.

Kasalukuyang dinidinig sa Kongreso ang franchise renewal bills ng istasyon.

Bukas ang PEP.ph sa maaaring ihayag ng ABS-CBN ukol dito.

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The National Labor Relations Commission (NLRC) orders ABS-CBN Corporation to pay complainants Rowena "Wheng" Hidalgo-Otida, Jerome "Jay" Manahan, Ricky de Belen, and John Cuba P100K each for exemplary and moral damages.
PHOTO/S: Jerome Ascano
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