Kapisanan ng mga Manggagawa v. Manila Railroad Company [GR L-25316, 28 February 1979]
Second Division, Fernando (p): 5 concur, 1 took no part
Facts: Petitioner seeks reversal of decision of the lower court dismissing its petition for mandamus, determining RA 2023 was enacted only to compel the employer to make the deduction of the employees’ debt from the latter’s salary and turn this over to the employees’ credit union; but which does not convert the credit union’s credit into a first priority credit.
The Supreme Court affirmed the appealed decision, without pronouncement as to costs.
First priority in matter of payments to the obligations of employees in favor of credit unions need to be declared in law
The express provisions of the New Civil Code, Articles 2241, 2242 and 2244 show the legislative intent on preference of credits. If the legislative intent in enacting paragraphs 1 and 2 of Section 62 of RA 2023 were to give first priority in the matter of payments to the obligations of employees in favor of their credit unions, then, the law would have so expressly declared. There is nothing in the provision of Rep. Act 2023 hereinabove quoted which provides that obligation of laborers and employees payable to credit unions shall enjoy first priority in the deduction from the employees’ wages and salaries.
When there is no ambiguity, the law must be applied
where the statutory norm speaks unequivocally, there is nothing for the courts to do except to apply it. The law, leaving no doubt as to the scope of its operation, must be obeyed. In the case at bar, the applicable provision of RA 2023 speaks for itself. There is no ambiguity. As thus worded, it was so applied. Petitioner cannot therefore raise any valid objection. For the lower court to view it otherwise would have been to alter the law. The judiciary cannot do alter the law, for such is a function that properly appertains to the legislative branch (Gonzaga v. CA).
Proper use of mandamus as remedy
Mandamus is the proper remedy if it could be shown that there was neglect on the part of a tribunal in the performance of an act, which specifically the law enjoins as a duty or an unlawful exclusion of a party from the use and enjoyment of a right to which he is entitled. Only specific legal rights may be enforced by mandamus if they are clear and certain. If the legal rights of the petitioner are not well defined, clear, and certain, the petition must be dismissed. The writ never issues in doubtful cases. It neither confers powers nor imposes duties. It is simply a command to exercise a power already possessed and to perform a duty already imposed.In the case at bar, mandamus does not lie. Petitioner was unable to show a clear legal right, and the law that it relied upon failed to supply any basis for the petition.