MANILA, Philippines - On a technicality, the Court of Appeals has quashed a lower court ruling that ordered the Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA) to pay employees their cost of living and amelioration allowances starting July 16, 1999.
In a 10-page decision penned by Associate Justice Amy Lazaro-Javier, the 5th division of the appellate court granted the appeal of the Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA) “on the ground of due process.”
It said the lower court should have dismissed outright the petition filed by the airport workers for failing to include as respondent the Department of Budget and Management (DBM).
The issue stemmed from the petition filed by the Samahang Manggagawa sa Paliparan ng Pilipinas before the Pasay Regional Trial Court in connection to a DBM directive.
Citing section 12 of Republic Act 6758 or Salary Standardization Law, the DBM issued Circular 10 mandating the integration of all allowances into government workers’ basic salaries.
The employees were given the COLA and amelioration allowance for the period July 1, 1989 to July 15, 1999.
They claimed however that these simply vanished thereafter. MIAA claimed however these were already deemed integrated into their salaries pursuant to the DBM circular.
On September 18, 2006, the Pasay court ordered MIAA to appropriate funds to pay for the allowances that had not been included in their basic salaries starting July 16, 1999.
The appellate court however said the trial court’s ruling is void, having been issued in violation of DBM’s right to due process.
“As a real party in interest, DBM stands to be injured by the judgment in the case below. It is well-settled that if a suit is not brought in the name of or against the real party in interest, it is dismissible on the ground that the complaint states no cause of action,” it said.
DBM has the right to be heard since it is the government agency tasked to enforce the law, it added.