Republic v. Asiapro Cooperative (G.R. No. 172101)

Facts:

Respondent Asiapro Cooperative is composed of owners-members with primary objectives of providing them savings and credit facilities and livelihood services. In discharge of said objectives, Asiapro entered into several service contracts with Stanfilco. Sometime later, the cooperative owners-members requested Stanfilco’s help in registering them with SSS and remitting their contributions. Petitioner SSS informed Asiapro that being actually a manpower contractor supplying employees to Stanfilco, it must be the one to register itself with SSS as an employer and remit the contributions. Respondent continuously ignoring the demand of SSS the latter filed before the SSC. Asiapro alleges that there exists no employer-employee relationship between it and its owners-members. SSC ruled in favor of SSS. On appeal, CA reversed the decision.

Issue:

Whether or not there is employer-employee relationship between Asiapro and its owners-members.

Ruling: YES.

In determining the existence of an employer-employee relationship, the following elements are considered: (1) the selection and engagement of the workers; (2) the payment of wages by whatever means; (3) the power of dismissal; and (4) the power to control the worker‘s conduct, with the latter assuming primacy in the overall consideration. All the aforesaid elements are present in this case.

First. It is expressly provided in the Service Contracts that it is the respondent cooperative which has the exclusive discretion in the selection and engagement of the owners-members as well as its team leaders who will be assigned at Stanfilco.

Second. It cannot be doubted then that those stipends or shares in the service surplus are indeed wages, because these are given to the owners-members as compensation in rendering services to respondent cooperative‘s client, Stanfilco.

Third. It is also stated in the above-mentioned Service Contracts that it is the respondent cooperative which has the power to investigate, discipline and remove the owners-members and its team leaders who were rendering services at Stanfilco.

Fourth. In the case at bar, it is the respondent cooperative which has the sole control over the manner and means of performing the services under the Service Contracts with Stanfilco as well as the means and methods of work. Also, the respondent cooperative is solely and entirely responsible for its owners-members, team leaders and other representatives at Stanfilco. All these clearly prove that, indeed, there is an employer-employee relationship between the respondent cooperative and its owners-members.

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