$36,000.00).[4] On November 15, 1996, Labor Arbiter Felipe P. Pati ordered Ace
Nav and Conning to pay jointly and severally Orlando his vacation leave pay of
US$450.00. The claim for tips of Orlando was dismissed for lack of merit.[5]
Orlando appealed[6] to the National Labor Relations Commission (NLRC)
on February 3, 1997. In a decision[7] promulgated on November 26, 1997, the
NLRC ordered Ace Nav and Conning to pay the unpaid tips of Orlando which
amounted to US$36,000.00 in addition to his vacation leave pay. Ace Nav and
Conning filed a motion for reconsideration on February 2, 1998 which was
denied on May 20, 1999.[8]
On July 2, 1999, Ace Nav and Conning filed a petition for certiorari before
the Court of Appeals to annul the decision of the NLRC. On July 28, 1999, the
Court of Appeals promulgated a three-page resolution[9] dismissing the petition.
Their motion for reconsideration filed on September 8, 1999 was denied on
October 8, 1999. Hence this appeal.
In assailing the dismissal of their petition on technical grounds, petitioners
argued that the Court of Appeals erred in rigidly and technically applying
Section 13, Rule 13[10] and Section 1, Rule 65[11] of the 1997 Rules of Civil
Procedure.[12] They also contend that the respondent court erred in ruling that
they are the ones liable to pay tips to Orlando. They point out that if tips will be
considered as part of the salary of Orlando, it will make him the highest paid
employee on M/V "Orient Express." The ship captain, the highest ranking
officer, receives U.S.$3,000.00 per month without tips. Orlando, who is a
bartender, will receive U.S.$3,450.00 per month. Allegedly, this will compel
foreign ship owners to desist from hiring Filipino bartenders. It will create an
unfavorable precedent detrimental to the future recruitment, hiring and
deployment of Filipino overseas workers specially in service oriented
businesses. It will also be a case of double compensation that will unjustly
enrich Orlando at the expense of petitioners. They also stress that Orlando
never complained that they should pay him the said tips.
Respondent filed a two-page comment to the petition adopting the
resolution of the Court of Appeals dated July 28, 1999.
We find merit in the petition.
Rules of procedure are used to help secure and not override substantial
justice.[13] Even the Rules of Court mandates a liberal construction in order to
promote their objective of securing a just, speedy and inexpensive disposition
of every action and proceeding.[14] Since rules of procedure are mere tools
designed to facilitate the attainment of justice, their strict and rigid application
which would result in technicalities that tend to frustrate rather than promote
substantial justice must always be avoided.[15] Thus, the dismissal of an appeal
on purely technical ground is frowned upon especially if it will result to
unfairness.
We apply these sound rules in the case at bar. Petitioners' petition
for certiorari before the Court of Appeals contained the certified true copy of the

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