THE Court of Appeals (CA) affirmed its decision recognizing the regular status of 96 workers classified by GMA Network, Inc. as “talents.”
In a two-page resolution dated Nov. 25, the court’s former Special 14th Division denied the motion for reconsideration of the company and its CEO Felipe L. Gozon, saying the arguments raised were addressed in its decision issued in February.
“(W)e find the arguments set forth therein to be plain reiterations of those issues already deliberated and passed upon,” according to the resolution written by Associate Justice Zenaida T. Galapate-Laguilles.
“We thus find no compelling reason that warrants a modification much less a reversal of the assailed Decision dated February 20, 2019,” it added.
The appellate court in February upheld the decision of the National Labor Relations Commission (NLRC) in 2015 which ruled that members of Talents Association of GMA Network (TAG) are regular employees who are entitled to security of tenure and benefits.
In a statement, TAG said the court’s decision only confirms “that we are, indisputably, regular employees of GMA Network.”
“If GMA takes the option to appeal the decision to the Supreme Court, we will welcome the opportunity to present our case to the High Court, and hopefully carve out jurisprudence that can benefit not just media workers, but all contractual workers,” it said.
In the February decision the court rejected the claim of the network that there was no employee-employer relationship as talents “were merely engaged independent contractors” hired for their specialized skills and compensated with high talent fees.
The court, citing the Labor Code, ruled that talents are regular employees as they are part of the production crew, whose work is necessary to run GMA’s business.
“Truly, without their work, petitioner GMA would have nothing to air, hence the private respondents’ services in the former’s television program were unquestionably necessary,” according to the decision. “Needless to state, petitioner GMA’s goal was to ensure excellent delivery of its programs to the viewing public. This could not have been achieved had it not been for the skills of the private respondents,” it added.
The court also said the NLRC did not commit grave abuse of discretion in issuing its ruling.
It also said that the “talents” were controlled and supervised by GMA and the network has set standards for them to follow.
Associate Justices Mario V. Lopez and Gabriel T. Robeniol concurred in the decision.
Asked to comment, GMA declined, with its legal department not yet in possession of copy of the resolution. — Vann Marlo M. Villegas