SC sends back Owwa mandatory fee case to Pasay RTC | Global News

SC sends back Owwa mandatory fee case to Pasay RTC

/ 05:49 PM January 20, 2015



MANILA, Philippines–The Supreme Court ordered the Pasay City Regional Trial Court to immediately act on the petition questioning the mandatory contribution of overseas Filipino workers to the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (Owwa).

The petition filed by the Philippine Migrants Rights Watch (PMRW) seeks to declare as unconstitutional the omnibus policy issued by the Owwa requiring OFWs to pay a $25 contribution on per contract basis.


In a 10-page decision written by Associate Justice Diosdado Peralta, the high court’s Third Division said the Pasay court erred when it dismissed the case filed by PMRW in 2004 for lack of jurisdiction.


The lower court explained in its ruling that the issue of determining the constitutionality of the Owwa resolution falls within the high court’s jurisdiction.

However, the high court said it is “settled in law that the RTC has jurisdiction to resolve the constitutionality of a statute, presidential decree, executive order, or administrative regulation,” under Section 2(a), Article VIII of the 1987 Constitution.

“It was, therefore, erroneous for the RTC to abruptly dismiss the complaint filed by petitioners on the basis of lack of jurisdiction since said court clearly had the power to take cognizance of the same. In so doing, the lower court failed to ascertain factual issues necessary to determine whether the subject issuance is, indeed, invalid and violative of the Constitution,” the high court added as it remanded the case to Pasay RTC Branch 111 for proceedings and resolution.

In its petition, the PMRW said the Owwa and its board of trustees acted with grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction in issuing Board Resolution No. 0383 entitled the Owwa Omnibus Policies to provide guidelines on matters concerning Owwa membership and its coverage, collection of contributions, and availment of benefits.


OFWs demand policy change on Owwa membership fees


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TAGS: Overseas Filipino workers, OWWA, Supreme Court

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