It is indeed good news that the Supreme Court has upheld the legitimacy of the Arroyo presidency by denying the petition filed by deposed President Joseph Estrada.  As reported by media, the main reason advanced by the Court for dismissing the Estrada petition was the “effective resignation” of Erap on January 20 as shown by the entries of then Executive Secretary Edgardo Angara’s diary.  In this edition of the Law Professor, we shall now tackle the different aspects of resignation.

What is resignation anyway? As held in the case of Intertrod Maritime, Inc. v. NLRC,  [1991], resignation is a voluntary act of the employee which is beyond the control of the employer. Once accepted by the employer, the employee loses his right to the job. The Labor Code also recognizes resignation in Article 285 (a) which states: 

“An employee may terminate without just cause the employee-employer relationship by serving a written notice on the employer at least one month in advance. The employer upon whom no such notice was served may hold the employee liable for damages.” 

A resignation may also be either express, as when contained in a written document, or implied, as can be inferred from the acts of the employee concerned. Also, to constitute a resignation, it must be unconditional and with the intent to operate as such. There must be an intention to relinquish a portion of the term of office accompanied by an act of relinquishment. If the employee was merely “forced by circumstances” to submit his resignation, there is no valid resignation and thus, there can be no effective dismissal of the employee 

Similarly, when an employee has submitted a letter of resignation due to circumstances beyond his control, his dismissal was still deemed as constructive and therefore, illegal. This is due to the fact that the Supreme Court has held that constructive dismissal is “an involuntary resignation resorted to when continued employment is rendered impossible, unreasonable or unlikely; when there is a demotion in rank and/or a diminution in pay; or when a clear discrimination, insensibility or disdain by an employer becomes unbearable to the employee.” (Escobin v. NLRC, GR No. 118159, April 15, 1998)