1993 memorandum elucidating
It must be genuine, not a mere afterthought to justify an earlier action taken in bad faith.The burden of proof rests on the employer to establish that the dismissal is for cause in view of the security of tenure that employees enjoy under the Constitution and the Labor Code.Unless duly proved or sufficiently substantiated otherwise, impartial tribunals should not rely only on the statement of the employer that it has lost confidence in its employee.
Can the apparent conflict between the law and its IRR be reconciled?The Labor Code, on one hand, provides that an employer must provide the employee ample opportunity to be heard and to defend himself with the assistance of his representative if he so desires: ART. Any decision taken by the employer shall be without prejudice to the right of the worker to contest the validity or legality of his dismissal by filing a complaint with the regional branch of the National Labor Relations Commission.The burden of proving that the termination was for a valid or authorized cause shall rest on the employer.At the outset, we reaffirm the time-honored doctrine that, in case of conflict, the law prevails over the administrative regulations implementing it.Article 277(b) of the Labor Code provides that, in cases of termination for a just cause, an employee must be given "ample opportunity to be heard and to defend himself." Thus, the opportunity to be heard afforded by law to the employee is qualified by the word "ample" which ordinarily means "considerably more than adequate or sufficient." In this regard, the phrase "ample opportunity to be heard" can be reasonably interpreted as extensive enough to cover actual hearing or conference.