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LAMBINO vs.

COMELEC
G.R. No. 174153, Oct. 25, 2006

Requirements for Initiative Petition
Constitutional Amendment vs. Constitutional Revision
Tests to determine whether amendment or revision

FACTS:
The Lambino Group commenced gathering signatures for an initiative petition to change
the 1987 Constitution and then filed a petition with COMELEC to hold a plebiscite for
ratification under Sec. 5(b) and (c) and Sec. 7 of RA 6735. The proposed changes under the
petition will shift the present Bicameral-Presidential system to a Unicameral-Parliamentary form
of government. COMELEC did not give it due course for lack of an enabling law governing
initiative petitions to amend the Constitution, pursuant to Santiago v. Comelec ruling

ISSUES:
Whether or not the proposed changes constitute an amendment or revision
Whether or not the initiative petition is sufficient compliance with the constitutional requirement
on direct proposal by the people

RULING:
Initiative petition does not comply with Sec. 2, Art. XVII on direct proposal by people
Sec.2, Art. XVII...is the governing provision that allows a peoples initiative to propose
amendments to the Constitution. While this provision does not expressly state that the
petition must set forth the full text of the proposed amendments, the deliberations of the
framers of our Constitution clearly show that: (a) the framers intended to adopt relevant
American jurisprudence on peoples initiative; and (b) in particular, the people must first seethe
full text of the proposed amendments before they sign, and that the people must sign on
a petition containing such full text.
The essence of amendments directly proposed by the people through initiative upon a
petition is that the entire proposal on its face is a petition by the people. This means two
essential elements must be present.

2 elements of initiative
1. The people must author and thus sign the entire proposal. No agent or representative can sign
on their behalf.
2. As an initiative upon a petition, the proposal must be embodied in a petition.

These essential elements are present only if the full text of the proposed amendments is first
shown to the people who express their assent by signing such complete proposal in a petition.
The full text of the proposed amendments may be either written on the face of the petition, or
attached to it. If so attached, the petition must stated the fact of such
attachment. This is an assurance that every one of the several millions of signatories to the
petition had seen the full text of the proposed amendments before not after signing.
Moreover, an initiative signer must be informed at the time of signing of the nature and effect of
that which is proposed and failure to do so is deceptive and misleading which renders the
initiative void.
In the case of the Lambino Groups petition, theres not a single word, phrase, or sentence of text
of the proposed changes in the signature sheet. Neither does the signature sheet state that the text
of the proposed changes is attached to it. The signature sheet merely asks a question whether the
people approve a shift from the Bicameral-Presidential to the Unicameral- Parliamentary system
of government. The signature sheet does not show to the people the draft of the proposed
changes before they are asked to sign the signature sheet. This omission is fatal.
An initiative that gathers signatures from the people without first showing to the people
the full text of the proposed amendments is most likely a deception, and can operate as a
gigantic fraud on the people. Thats why the Constitution requires that an initiative must be
directly proposed by the people x x x in a petition - meaning that the people must sign on a
petition that contains the full text of the proposed amendments. On so vital an issue as amending
the nations fundamental law, the writing of the text of the proposed
amendments cannot be hidden from the people under a general or special power of
attorney to unnamed, faceless, and unelected individuals.
The initiative violates Section 2, Article XVII of the Constitution disallowing revision through
initiatives article XVII of the Constitution speaks of three modes of amending the Constitution.

The first mode is through Congress upon three-fourths vote of all its Members. The second mode
is through a constitutional convention. The third mode is through a peoples initiative.
Section 1 of Article XVII, referring to the first and second modes, applies to any amendment to,
or revision of, this Constitution. In contrast, Section 2 of Article XVII, referring to the third
mode, applies only to amendments to this Constitution. This distinction was intentional as
shown by the deliberations of the Constitutional Commission. A peoples initiative to change the
Constitution applies only to an amendment of the Constitution and not to its revision. In contrast,
Congress or a constitutional convention can propose both amendments and revisions to the
Constitution.

Does the Lambino Groups initiative constitute a revision of the Constitution?
Yes. By any legal test and under any jurisdiction, a shift from a Bicameral-Presidential to
a Unicameral-Parliamentary system, involving the abolition of the Office of the President and the
abolition of one chamber of Congress, is beyond doubt a revision, not a mere
amendment.

Amendment vs. Revision
Courts have long recognized the distinction between an amendment and a revision of a
constitution. Revision broadly implies a change that alters a basic principle in the
constitution, like altering the principle of separation of powers or the system of checks-and-
balances. There is also revision if the change alters the substantial entirety of the
constitution, as when the change affects substantial provisions of the constitution. On the
other hand, amendment broadly refers to a change that adds, reduces, or deletes without
altering the basic principle involved. Revision generally affects several provisions of the
constitution, while amendment generally affects only the specific provision being amended.
Where the proposed change applies only to a specific provision of the Constitution without
affecting any other section or article, the change may generally be considered an amendment and
not a revision.
For example, a change reducing the voting age from 18years to 15 years is an amendment and
not a revision.
Similarly, a change reducing Filipino ownership of mass media companies from 100% to 60% is
an amendment and not a revision.
Also, a change requiring a college degree as an additional qualification for election
to the Presidency is an amendment and not a revision.
The changes in these examples do not entail any modification of sections or articles of the
Constitution other than the specific provision being amended. These changes do not also affect
the structure of government or the system of checks-and-balances among or within the three
branches.
However, there can be no fixed rule on whether a change is an amendment or a revision. A
change in a single word of one sentence of the Constitution may be a revision and not an
amendment. For example, the substitution of the word republican with monarchic or
theocratic in Section 1, Article II of the Constitution radically overhauls the entire structure
of government and the fundamental ideological basis of the Constitution. Thus, each specific
change will have to be examined case-by-case, depending on how it affects other provisions,
as well as how it affects the structure of government, the carefully crafted system of checks-and-
balances, and the underlying ideological basis of the existing Constitution.
Since a revision of a constitution affects basic principles, or several provisions of a
constitution, a deliberative body with recorded proceedings is best suited to undertake a
revision. A revision requires harmonizing not only several provisions, but also the altered
principles with those that remain unaltered. Thus, constitutions normally authorize
deliberative bodies like constituent assemblies or constitutional conventions to undertake
revisions. On the other hand, constitutions allow peoples initiatives, which do not have fixed
&identifiable deliberative bodies or recorded proceedings, to undertake only amendments & not
revisions.

Tests to determine whether amendment or revision
In California where the initiative clause allows amendments but not revisions to the
constitution just like in our Constitution, courts have developed a two-part test: the
quantitative test and the qualitative test. The quantitative test asks whether the proposed
change is so extensive in its provisions as to change directly the substantial entirety of the
constitution by the deletion or alteration of numerous existing provisions. The court
examines only the number of provisions affected and does not consider the degree of the
change.
The qualitative test inquires into the qualitative effects of the proposed change in the
constitution. The main inquiry is whether the change will accomplish such far reaching
changes in the nature of our basic governmental plan as to amount to a revision. Whether
there is an alteration in the structure of government is a proper subject of inquiry. Thus, a
change in the nature of [the] basic governmental plan includes change in its fundamental
framework or the fundamental powers of its Branches. A change in the nature of the basic
governmental plan also includes changes that jeopardize the traditional form of government &
the system of check and balances
Under both the quantitative and qualitative tests, the Lambino Groups initiative is a revision
&Not merely an amendment. Quantitatively, the Lambino Groups proposed changes overhaul
two articles - Article VI on the Legislature and Article VII on the Executive -affecting a total of
105 provisions in the entire Constitution. Qualitatively, the proposed changes alter substantially
the basic plan of government, from presidential to
parliamentary, and from a bicameral to a unicameral legislature.

A change in the structure of government is a revision
A change in the structure of government is a revision of the Constitution, as when the three great
co-equal branches of government in the present Constitution are reduced into two. This alters the
separation of powers in the Constitution. A shift from the present Bicameral-Presidential system
to a Unicameral-Parliamentary system is a revision of the Constitution.
Merging the legislative and executive branches is a radical change in the structure of
government. The abolition alone of the Office of the President as the locus of Executive
Power alters the separation of powers and thus constitutes a revision of the Constitution.
Likewise, the abolition alone of one chamber of Congress alters the system of checks-and-
balances within the legislature and constitutes a revision of the Constitution.
The Lambino Group theorizes that the difference between amendment and revision is only one of
procedure, not of substance. The Lambino Group posits that when a deliberative body drafts and
proposes changes to the Constitution, substantive changes are called revisions because members
of the deliberative body work full-time on the changes. The same substantive changes, when
proposed through an initiative, are called amendments because the changes are made by ordinary
people who do not make an occupation, profession, or vocation out of such endeavor. The SC,
however, ruled that the express intent of the framers and the plain language of the Constitution
contradict the Lambino Groups theory. Where the intent of the framers and the language of the
Constitution are clear and plainly stated, courts do not deviate from such categorical intent and
language


Lambino Vs. Comelec G.R. No. 174153Oct. 25 2006
Facts:
Petitioners (Lambino group) commenced gathering signatures for an initiative petition to change
the 1987constitution, they filed a petition with the COMELEC to hold a plebiscite that will ratify
their initiative petition under RA 6735.Lambino group alleged that the petition had the support of
6Mindividuals fulfilling what was provided by art 17 of the constitution. Their petition changes
the 1987 constitution by modifying sections 1-7 of Art 6 and sections 1-4 of Art 7 and by adding
Art 18. the proposed changes will shift the present bicameral- presidential form of government to
unicameral-parliamentary. COMELEC denied the petition due to lack of enabling law governing
initiative petitions and invoked the Santiago Vs. Comelec ruling that RA 6735 is inadequate to
implement the initiative petitions.
Issue:
Whether or Not the Lambino Groups initiative petition complies with Section 2, Article XVII of
the Constitution on amendments to the Constitution through a peoples initiative.
Whether or Not this Court should revisit its ruling in Santiago declaring RA 6735 incomplete,
inadequate or wanting in essential terms and conditions to implement the initiative clause on
proposals to amend the Constitution.


Whether or Not the COMELEC committed grave abuse of discretion in denying due course to
the Lambino Groups petition.
Held:
According to the SC the Lambino group failed to comply with the basic requirements for
conducting a peoples initiative.
The Court held that the COMELEC did not grave abuse of discretion on dismissing the
Lambino petition.
1. The Initiative Petition Does Not Comply with Section 2, Article XVII of the Constitution on
Direct Proposal by the People The petitioners failed to show the court that the initiative signer
must be informed at the time of the signing of the nature and effect, failure to do so is deceptive
and misleading which renders the initiative void.
2. The Initiative Violates Section 2, Article XVII of the Constitution Disallowing Revision
through Initiatives The framers of the constitution intended a clear distinction between
amendment and revision, it is intended that the third mode of stated in sec 2 art 17 of the
constitution may propose only amendments to the constitution. Merging of the legislative and the
executive is a radical change, therefore constitutes a revision.
3. A Revisit of Santiago v. COMELEC is Not Necessary Even assuming that RA 6735 is valid, it
will not change the result because the present petition violated Sec 2 Art 17 to be a valid
initiative, must first comply with the constitution before complying with RA 6735 Petition is
dismissed.
On 15 February 2006, the group of Raul Lambino and Erico Aumentado (Lambino Group) commenced
gathering signatures for an initiative petition to change the 1987 Constitution. On 25 August 2006, the
Lambino Group filed a petition with the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) to hold a plebiscite that
will ratify their initiative petition under Section 5(b) and (c) and Section 7 of Republic Act No. 6735 or
the Initiative and Referendum Act. The proposed changes under the petition will shift the present
Bicameral-Presidential system to a Unicameral-Parliamentary form of government.
The Lambino Group claims that: (a) their petition had the support of 6,327,952 individuals constituting
at least 12% of all registered voters, with each legislative district represented by at least 3% of its
registered voters; and (b) COMELEC election registrars had verified the signatures of the 6.3 million
individuals.
The COMELEC, however, denied due course to the petition for lack of an enabling law governing
initiative petitions to amend the Constitution, pursuant to the Supreme Courts ruling in Santiago vs.
Commission on Elections. The Lambino Group elevated the matter to the Supreme Court, which also
threw out the petition.
1. The initiative petition does not comply with Section 2, Article XVII of the Constitution on direct
proposal by the people
Section 2, Article XVII of the Constitution is the governing provision that allows a peoples initiative
to propose amendments to the Constitution. While this provision does not expressly state that the
petition must set forth the full text of the proposed amendments, the deliberations of the framers of
our Constitution clearly show that: (a) the framers intended to adopt the relevant American
jurisprudence on peoples initiative; and (b) in particular, the people must first see the full text of the
proposed amendments before they sign, and that the people must sign on a petition containing such full
text.
The essence of amendments directly proposed by the people through initiative upon a petition is that
the entire proposal on its face is a petition by the people. This means two essential elements must be
present.
First, the people must author and thus sign the entire proposal. No agent or representative can sign on
their behalf.
Second, as an initiative upon a petition, the proposal must be embodied in a petition.
These essential elements are present only if the full text of the proposed amendments is first shown to
the people who express their assent by signing such complete proposal in a petition. The full text of the
proposed amendments may be either written on the face of the petition, or attached to it. If so
attached, the petition must state the fact of such attachment. This is an assurance that every one of the
several millions of signatories to the petition had seen the full text of the proposed amendments before
not after signing.
Moreover, an initiative signer must be informed at the time of signing of the nature and effect of that
which is proposed and failure to do so is deceptive and misleading which renders the initiative void.
In the case of the Lambino Groups petition, theres not a single word, phrase, or sentence of text of the
proposed changes in the signature sheet. Neither does the signature sheet state that the text of the
proposed changes is attached to it. The signature sheet merely asks a question whether the people
approve a shift from the Bicameral-Presidential to the Unicameral- Parliamentary system of
government. The signature sheet does not show to the people the draft of the proposed changes before
they are asked to sign the signature sheet. This omission is fatal.
An initiative that gathers signatures from the people without first showing to the people the full text of
the proposed amendments is most likely a deception, and can operate as a gigantic fraud on the people.
Thats why the Constitution requires that an initiative must be directly proposed by the people x x x in a
petition meaning that the people must sign on a petition that contains the full text of the proposed
amendments. On so vital an issue as amending the nations fundamental law, the writing of the text of
the proposed amendments cannot be hidden from the people under a general or special power of
attorney to unnamed, faceless, and unelected individuals.
2. The initiative violates Section 2, Article XVII of the Constitution disallowing revision through initiatives
Article XVII of the Constitution speaks of three modes of amending the Constitution. The first mode is
through Congress upon three-fourths vote of all its Members. The second mode is through a
constitutional convention. The third mode is through a peoples initiative.
Section 1 of Article XVII, referring to the first and second modes, applies to any amendment to, or
revision of, this Constitution. In contrast, Section 2 of Article XVII, referring to the third mode, applies
only to amendments to this Constitution. This distinction was intentional as shown by the
deliberations of the Constitutional Commission. A peoples initiative to change the Constitution applies
only to an amendment of the Constitution and not to its revision. In contrast, Congress or a
constitutional convention can propose both amendments and revisions to the Constitution.
Does the Lambino Groups initiative constitute an amendment or revision of the Constitution? Yes. By
any legal test and under any jurisdiction, a shift from a Bicameral-Presidential to a Unicameral-
Parliamentary system, involving the abolition of the Office of the President and the abolition of one
chamber of Congress, is beyond doubt a revision, not a mere amendment.
Courts have long recognized the distinction between an amendment and a revision of a constitution.
Revision broadly implies a change that alters a basic principle in the constitution, like altering the
principle of separation of powers or the system of checks-and-balances. There is also revision if the
change alters the substantial entirety of the constitution, as when the change affects substantial
provisions of the constitution. On the other hand, amendment broadly refers to a change that adds,
reduces, or deletes without altering the basic principle involved. Revision generally affects several
provisions of the constitution, while amendment generally affects only the specific provision being
amended.
Where the proposed change applies only to a specific provision of the Constitution without affecting any
other section or article, the change may generally be considered an amendment and not a revision. For
example, a change reducing the voting age from 18 years to 15 years is an amendment and not a
revision. Similarly, a change reducing Filipino ownership of mass media companies from 100% to 60% is
an amendment and not a revision. Also, a change requiring a college degree as an additional
qualification for election to the Presidency is an amendment and not a revision.
The changes in these examples do not entail any modification of sections or articles of the Constitution
other than the specific provision being amended. These changes do not also affect the structure of
government or the system of checks-and-balances among or within the three branches.
However, there can be no fixed rule on whether a change is an amendment or a revision. A change in a
single word of one sentence of the Constitution may be a revision and not an amendment. For example,
the substitution of the word republican with monarchic or theocratic in Section 1, Article II of the
Constitution radically overhauls the entire structure of government and the fundamental ideological
basis of the Constitution. Thus, each specific change will have to be examined case-by-case, depending
on how it affects other provisions, as well as how it affects the structure of government, the carefully
crafted system of checks-and-balances, and the underlying ideological basis of the existing Constitution.
Since a revision of a constitution affects basic principles, or several provisions of a constitution, a
deliberative body with recorded proceedings is best suited to undertake a revision. A revision requires
harmonizing not only several provisions, but also the altered principles with those that remain
unaltered. Thus, constitutions normally authorize deliberative bodies like constituent assemblies or
constitutional conventions to undertake revisions. On the other hand, constitutions allow peoples
initiatives, which do not have fixed and identifiable deliberative bodies or recorded proceedings, to
undertake only amendments and not revisions.
In California where the initiative clause allows amendments but not revisions to the constitution just like
in our Constitution, courts have developed a two-part test: the quantitative test and the qualitative test.
The quantitative test asks whether the proposed change is so extensive in its provisions as to change
directly the substantial entirety of the constitution by the deletion or alteration of numerous existing
provisions. The court examines only the number of provisions affected and does not consider the degree
of the change.
The qualitative test inquires into the qualitative effects of the proposed change in the constitution. The
main inquiry is whether the change will accomplish such far reaching changes in the nature of our
basic governmental plan as to amount to a revision. Whether there is an alteration in the structure
of government is a proper subject of inquiry. Thus, a change in the nature of *the+ basic
governmental plan includes change in its fundamental framework or the fundamental powers of its
Branches. A change in the nature of the basic governmental plan also includes changes that jeopardize
the traditional form of government and the system of check and balances.
Under both the quantitative and qualitative tests, the Lambino Group initiative is a revision and not
merely an amendment. Quantitatively, the Lambino Group proposed changes overhaul two articles
Article VI on the Legislature andArticle VII on the Executive affecting a total of 105 provisions in the
entire Constitution. Qualitatively, the proposed changes alter substantially the basic plan of
government, from presidential to parliamentary, and from a bicameral to a unicameral legislature.
A change in the structure of government is a revision of the Constitution, as when the three great co-
equal branches of government in the present Constitution are reduced into two. This alters the
separation of powers in the Constitution. A shift from the present Bicameral-Presidential system to a
Unicameral-Parliamentary system is a revision of the Constitution. Merging the legislative and executive
branches is a radical change in the structure of government. The abolition alone of the Office of the
President as the locus of Executive Power alters the separation of powers and thus constitutes a revision
of the Constitution. Likewise, the abolition alone of one chamber of Congress alters the system of
checks-and-balances within the legislature and constitutes a revision of the Constitution.
The Lambino Group theorizes that the difference between amendment and revision is
only one of procedure, not of substance. The Lambino Group posits that when a deliberative body drafts
and proposes changes to the Constitution, substantive changes are called revisions because
members of the deliberative body work full-time on the changes. The same substantive changes, when
proposed through an initiative, are called amendments because the changes are made by
ordinary people who do not make an occupation, profession, or vocation out of such endeavor.
The SC, however, ruled that the express intent of the framers and the plain language of the Constitution
contradict the Lambino Groups theory. Where the intent of the framers and the language of the
Constitution are clear and plainly stated, courts do not deviate from such categorical intent and
language.
3. A revisit of Santiago vs. COMELEC is not necessary
The petition failed to comply with the basic requirements of Section 2, Article XVII of the Constitution on
the conduct and scope of a peoples initiative to amend the Constitution. There is, therefore, no need to
revisit this Courts ruling in Santiago declaring RA 6735 incomplete, inadequate or wanting in essential
terms and conditions to cover the system of initiative to amend the Constitution. An affirmation or
reversal of Santiago will not change the outcome of the present petition. It settled that courts will not
pass upon the constitutionality of a statute if the case can be resolved on some other grounds.
Even assuming that RA 6735 is valid, this will not change the result here because the present petition
violates Section 2, Article XVII of the Constitution, which provision must first be complied with even
before complying with RA 6735. Worse, the petition violates the following provisions of RA 6735:
a. Section 5(b), requiring that the people must sign the petition as signatories. The 6.3 million signatories
did not sign the petition or the amended petition filed with the COMELEC. Only Attys. Lambino, Donato
and Agra signed the petition and amended petition.
b. Section 10(a), providing that no petition embracing more than one subject shall be submitted to the
electorate. The proposed Section 4(4) of the Transitory Provisions, mandating the interim Parliament to
propose further amendments or revisions to the Constitution, is a subject matter totally unrelated to
the shift in the form of government.



multilateral treaty regulating, among others, sea-use rights over maritime zones (i.e., the territorial
waters [12 nautical miles from the baselines],contiguous zone [24 nautical miles from the baselines],
exclusive economic zone [200 nautical miles from the baselines]), and continental shelves that UNCLOS
III delimits.
23 UNCLOS III was the culmination of decades-long negotiations among United Nations members
to codify norms regulating the conduct of States in the worlds oceans and submarine areas, recognizing
coastal and archipelagic States graduated authority over a limited span of waters and submarine lands
along their coasts.
Thus, baselines laws are nothing but statutory mechanisms for UNCLOS III States parties to delimit with
precision the extent of their maritime zones and continental shelves.
In turn, this gives n o t i c e t o t h e r e s t o f t h e i n t e r n a t i o n a l c o mmu n i t y
o f t h e s c o p e o f t h e maritime space and submarine areas within which
States parties exercise treaty-based rights, namely, the exercise of sovereignty over
territorial waters(Article 2), the jurisdiction to enforce customs, fiscal, immigration, and sanitation laws in
the contiguous zone (Article 33), and the right to exploit the living and non-living resources in the
exclusive economic zone (Article 56) and continental shelf (Article 77).
UNCLOS III and its ancillary baselines laws play no role in the acquisition,
e n l a r g e me n t o r , a s p e t i t i o n e r s c l a i m, d i mi n u t i o n o f t e r r i t o r y .
Un d e r traditional international law typology, States acquire (or conversely, lose) territory
through occupation, accretion, cession and prescription, 25 not by
execut i ng mul t i l at eral t reat i es on t he regul at i ons of s ea-
us e ri ght s orenacting statutes to comply with the treatys terms to delimit
maritime zones and continental shelves. Territorial claims to land features
are outside UNCLOS III, and are instead governed by the rules on general international law.

Petitioners next submit that RA 9522s use of UNCLOS IIIs regime of islands frame work to draw the baselines,
and to measure the breadth of the applicable maritime zones of the KIG, "weakens our territorial claim" over
that area. Petitioners add that the KIGs (and Scarborough Shoals) exclusion from the Philippine
archipelagic baselines results in the loss of "about 15,000 square nautical miles
of territorial waters," p r e j u d i c i n g t h e l i v e l i h o o d o f s u b s i s t e n c e
f i s h e r me n . A c o mp a r i s o n o f t h e configuration of the baselines drawn under RA
3046 and RA 9522 and the extent of maritime space encompassed by each law, coupled with a
reading of the text of RA9522 and its congressional deliberations, vis--vis the Philippines
obligations under UNCLOS III, belie this view. NO.
RA 9522s Use of the Framework of Regime of I slands to Determine the Maritime Zones
of the KI G and the Scarborough Shoal, not Inconsistent with the Philippines Claim of Sovereignty
Over theseAreas.
The configuration of the baselines drawn under RA 3046 and RA 9522 shows that RA 9522
merely followed the base points mapped by RA 3046, save for
atl eas t ni ne bas epoi nt s t hat RA 9522 s ki pped t o opt i mi ze t he l ocat i on o
f basepoints and adjust the length of one baseline (and thus comply with
UNCLOS IIIs limitation on the maximum length of baselines).
Under RA 3046, as under RA 9522, the KIG and the Scarborough Shoal lie outside of
the baselines drawn around the Philippine archipelago. This undeniable cartographic fact takes
the wind out of petitioners argument branding RA 9522 as a statutory renunciation of the Philippines claim over
the KIG, assuming that baselines are relevant for this purpose.

Petitioners argument that the KIG now lies outside Philippine territory because the baselines
that RA 9522 draws do not enclose the KIG--No. Had Congress in RA 9522enclosed the KIG
and the Scarborough Shoal as part of the Philippine archipelago, adverse legal effects would
have ensued. The Philippines would have committed a breach of two provisions of UNCLOS III. First,
Article 47 (3) of UNCLOS III requires that"[t]he drawing of such baselines shall not depart to any
appreciable extent from the general configuration of the archipelago." Second, Article 47 (2) of UNCLOS III
requires that "the length of the baselines shall not exceed 100 nautical miles," save for three per
cent (3%) of the total number of baselines which can reach up to 125 nautical
miles.31 Although the Philippines has consistently claimed sovereignty over the KIG32and the Scarborough
Shoal for several decades, these outlying areas are located at anappreciable distance from the nearest shoreline of
the Philippine archipelago, such that any straight baseline loped around them from the nearest base point will
inevitably" depart to an appreciable extent from the general configuration of the archipelago.

Petitioners argument for the invalidity of RA 9522 for its failure to textualize t he
Philippines claim over Sabah in North Borneois also untenable
.
Section 2 of RA5446, which RA 9522 did not repeal, keeps open the door for
drawing the baselines of Sabah:
Section 2. The definition of the baselines of the territorial sea of the Philippine
Archipelago as provided in this Act is without prejudice to the delineation of the baselines
of the territorial sea around the territory of Sabah, situated
inNort h Borneo, over whi ch t he Republ i c of t he Phi l i ppi nes has acqui r
ed dominion and sovereignty.

As their final argument against the validity of RA 9522, petitioners contend that the law
unconstitutionally "converts" internal waters into archipelagic waters, hence subjecting these
waters to the right of innocent and sea lanes passage under UNCLOS III, including overflight.
Petitioners extrapolate that these passage rights indubitably expose Philippine internal waters
to nuclear and maritime pollutionhazar ds , i n vi ol at i on of t he Cons t i t ut i on- -
U N C L O S I I I a n d R A 9522 n o t I ncompatible with the Constitutions
Delineation of I nternal Waters.
Whether referred to as Philippine "internal waters" under Article I of the Constitution39 or
as"archipelagic waters" under UNCLOS III (Article 49 [1]), the Philippines exercise
ssovereignty over the body of water lying landward of the baselines, including the airspace over it
and the submarine areas underneath. UNCLOS III affirms this: Article 49.
Legal status of archipelagic waters, of the air space over archipelagic waters and of their bed and subsoil:
1. The sovereignty of an archipelagic State extends to the waters enclosed by the
archipelagic baselines drawn in accordance with article 47, described as archipelagic
waters, regardless of their depth or distance from the coast.
2. This sovereignty extends to the air space over the archipelagic waters, as well as to their bed and subsoil,
and the resources contained therein.x x x x
4. The regime of archipelagic sea lanes passage established in this Part shall not in other
respects affect the status of the archipelagic waters, including the sea lanes, or the exercise
by the archipelagic State of its sovereignty over such waters and their airspace, bed and
subsoil, and the resources contained therein . The fact of sovereignty, however, does not
preclude the operation of municipal and international law norms subjecting the territorial sea or
archipelagic waters to necessary, if not marginal, burdens in the interest of maintaining
unimpeded, expeditious international navigation, consistent with the international law principle
of freedom of navigation.
Thus, domestically, the political branches of the Philippine government, in the competent discharge of
their constitutional powers, may pass legislation designating routes within
the archipelagic waters to regulate innocent and sea lanes passage.
Indeed, bills drawing nautical highways for sea lanes passage are now pending in Congress. In the absence of
municipal legislation, international law norms, now codified in UNCLOS III, operate to grant
innocent passage rights over the territorial sea or archipelagic waters, subject
to the treatys limitations and conditions for their exercise.
Si gni f i cant l y, t he r i ght of i nnocent pas s age i s a cus t omar y i nt er nat i onal l a
w, t hus automatically incorporated in the corpus of Philippine law. No modern State can
validly invoke its sovereignty to absolutely forbid innocent passage that is exercised in
accordance with customary international law without risking retaliatory measures from the
international community. The fact that for archipelagic States, their archipelagic waters are subject
to both the right of innocent passage and sea lanes passage45 does not place them in lesser
footing vis--vis continental coastal States which are subject, in their territorial sea, to the right of
innocent passage and the right of transit passage through international straits.
The imposition of t h e s e p a s s a g e r i g h t s t h r o u g h
a r c h i p e l a g i c wa t e r s u n d e r UNCLOS I I I wa s a concession by archipelagic
States, in exchange for their right to claim all the waters land ward of their baselines, regardless of
their depth or distance from the coast as archipelagic waters subject to their territorial sovereignty. More
importantly, the recognition of archipelagic States archipelago and the waters enclosed by their
baselines as one cohesive entity prevents the treatment of their islands
as separate islands under UNCLOS III. Separate islands generate their own maritime
zones, placing the waters between islands s epar at ed by mor e t han 24 naut i cal
mi l es beyond t he St at es t er r i t or i al s over ei gnt y, subjecting these waters to the rights of
other States under UNCLOS III.




























STATE IMMUNITY
ACT NO. 3083 AN ACT DEFINING THE CONDITIONS UNDER WHICH THE
GOVERNMENT OF THE PHILIPPINE ISLANDS MAY BE SUED
Section 1. Complaint against Government
. Subject to the provisions of this Act, the Government of the Philippine Islands hereby
consents and submits to be sued upon any moneyed claim involving liability arising from
contract, expressed or implied, which could serve as a basis of civil action between private
parties.
Sec. 2
. A person desiring to avail himself of the privilege herein conferred must show that he has
presented his claim to the Insular Auditor and that the latter did not decide the same within two
months from the date of its presentation.
Sec. 3. Venue.
Original actions brought pursuant to the authority conferred in this Act shall be instituted in the
Court of First Instance of the City of Manila or of the province were the claimant resides, at the
option of the latter, upon which court exclusive original jurisdiction is hereby conferred to hear
and determine such actions.
Sec. 4.
Actions instituted as aforesaid shall be governed by the same rules of procedure, both original
and appellate, as if the litigants were private parties.
Sec. 5.
When the Government of the Philippine Island is plaintiff in an action instituted in any court of
original jurisdiction, the defendant shall have the right to assert therein, by way of set-off or
counterclaim in a similar action between private parties.
Sec. 6.
Process in actions brought against the Government of the Philippine Islands pursuant to the
authority granted in this Act shall be served upon the Attorney-General whose duty it shall be to
appear and make defense, either himself or through delegates.
Sec. 7. Execution.
No execution shall issue upon any judgment rendered by any court against the Government of
the Philippine Islands under the provisions of this Act; but a copy thereof duly certified by the
clerk of the Court in which judgment is rendered shall be transmitted by such clerk to
the Governor-General, within five days after the same becomes final.
Sec. 8. Transmittal of Decision.
The Governor-General, 4 at the commencement of each regular session of the Legislature, shall
transmit to that body for appropriate action all decisions so received by him, and if said body
determine that payment should be made, it shall appropriate the sum which the Government has
been sentenced to pay, including the same in the appropriations for the ensuing year.
Sec. 9.
This Act shall take effect on its approval.
Approved: March 16, 1923.



COMMONWEALTH ACT NO. 327AN ACT FIXING THE TIME WITHINWHICH THE
AUDITOR GENERALSHALL RENDER HIS DECISIONSAND PRESCRIBING THE
MANNEROF APPEAL THEREFROM
Section 1.
In all cases involving the settlement of accounts or claims, other than those of accountable
officers, the Auditor General shall act and decide the same within sixty days, exclusive of
Sundays and holidays, after their presentation. If said accounts or claims need reference to other
persons, office or offices, or to a party interested, the period aforesaid shall be counted from the
time the last comment necessary to a proper decision is received by him. With respect to
the accounts of accountable officers, the Auditor General shall act on the same within one
hundred days after their submission, Sundays and holidays excepted. In case of accounts or
claims already submitted to but still pending decision by the Auditor General on or before the
approval of this Act, the periods provided in this section shall commence from the date of such
approval.
Section 2.
The party aggrieved by the final decision of the Auditor General in the settlement of an account
for claim may, within thirty days from receipt of the decision, take an appeal in writing:
(a)To the President of the United States, pending the final and complete withdrawal of her
sovereignty over the Philippines, or
(b) To the President of the Philippines, or
(c) To the Supreme Court of the Philippines if the appellant is a private person or entity. If there
are more than one appellant, all appeals shall be taken to the same authority resorted to by the
first appellant. From a decision adversely affecting the interests of the Government, the appeal
maybe taken by the proper head of the department or in case of local governments by the head
of the office or branch of the Government immediately concerned. The appeal shall specifically
set forth the particular action of the Auditor General to which exception is taken with the reasons
and authorities relied on for reversing such decision.
Section 3.
This Act shall take effect upon its approval.
Approved: June 18. 1938.















PRESIDENTIAL DECREE No. 1807 PRESCRIBING THE PROCEDUREWHEREBY
THE REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES MAY WAIVE SOVEREIGN IMMUNITY
FROM SUITAND OTHER LEGAL PROCEEDING WITH RESPECT TO ITSELF OR
ITS PROPERTY IN CONNECTION WITH FOREIGN OBLIGATIONS CONTRACTED
BY IT PURSUANT TO LAW
WHEREAS, in the pursuit of economic growth and development, it has become imperative for
the Republic of the Philippines to enter into contracts or transactions with international banking,
financial and other foreign enterprises; WHEREAS, recognizing this need, existing legislation
expressly authorize the Republic of the Philippines to contract foreign obligations, including
borrowings in foreign currency, and to guarantee foreign obligations of corporations and other
entities owned or controlled by the Government of the Philippines; WHEREAS, circumstances
in the international market may require that sovereign states entering into contracts or
transactions make express waivers of sovereign immunity in connection with such contracts or
transactions; WHEREAS, it is in the national interest that a procedure be prescribed with respect
to the waiver of sovereign immunity of the Republic of the Philippines in respect of international
contracts or transactions entered into by it; NOW, THEREFORE, I, FERDINAND E. MARCOS,
President of the Republic of the Philippines, by virtue of the powers vested in me by the
Constitution, do hereby order and decree:

Section 1.
Procedure for, and Conditions of, Waiver of Sovereign Immunity.
In instances where the law expressly authorizes the Republic of the Philippines to contract or
incur a foreign obligation, it may consent to be sued in connection therewith. The President of
the Philippines or his duly designated representative may, in behalf of the Republic of the
Philippines, contractually agree to waive any claim to sovereign immunity from suit or legal
proceedings and from set-off, attachment or executive with respect to its property, and to be sued
in any appropriate jurisdiction in regard to such foreign obligation. For purposes of this decree, a
foreign obligation means any direct, indirect, or contingent obligation or liability capable
of pecuniary estimation and payable in a currency other than Philippine currency.

Section 2.
Validity of existing Waivers.
Nothing in this Decree shall be construed to revoke or repeal any waiver of sovereign immunity from
suit or legal proceedings or from set-off, attachment or execution granted under or pursuant to
other provisions of law.

Section 3.
Effectivity.
This Decree shall take effect immediately.







G.R. No. 152318 April 16, 2009
DEUTSCHE GESELLSCHAFT FRTECHNISCHE ZUSAMMENARBEIT,ET. AL.
vs.HON. COURT OF APPEALS, ET. AL.

FACTS:
T h e g o v e r n m e n t s o f t h e F e d e r a l Republic of Germany and the
Republic of the Philippines ratified an Agreement called Social
H e a l t h I n s u r a n c e N e t w o r k i n g a n d Empowerment
(SHINE which was designed to" enabl e Phi l i ppi ne f ami l i es es peci al l y poor
o n e s t o ma i n t a i n t h e i r h e a l t h a n d s e c u r e heal t h car e of s us t ai nabl e
qual i t y. " Pr i vat e r e s p o n d e n t s w e r e e n g a g e d a s c o n t r a c t employees
hired by GTZ to work for SHINE. Nicolay, a Belgian national, assumed
t h e p o s t o f S H I N E P r o j e c t M a n a g e r . Di s a g r e e me n t s
e v e n t u a l l y a r o s e b e t we e n Ni col a y and pr i vat e r es pondent s i n
mat t er s such as proposed salary adjustments, and the
c o u r s e N i c o l a y w a s t a k i n g i n t h e
implementation of SHINE different from her predecessors. The dispute culminated in a
signed by the private respondents, addressed to Nicolay,
a n d c o p i e s f u r n i s h e d o f f i c i a l s o f t h e DOH, Philhealth, and the director of the
Manila office of GTZ. The letter raised several issues which private respondents claim
had been brought up several times in the past, but have not been given appropriate
response. In response, Nicolay wrote each of the
p r i v a t e r e s p o n d e n t s a l e t t e r , a l l s i mi l a r l y worded except for their respective
addressees. She informed private respondents that they could no longer find any
reason to stay with t h e p r o j e c t u n l e s s ALL o f t h e s e i s s u e s b e addressed
immediately and appropriately. Under the foregoing premises and circumstances, it is now
imperative that I am to accept your resignation, which I expect to receive as soon as possible.
Negotiations ensued between private respondents and Nicolay, but for naught. Each of
the private respondents received a letter f r o m
Ni c o l a y , i n f o r mi n g t h e m o f t h e p r e - termination of their
contracts of employmento n t h e g r o u n d s o f " s e r i o u s a n d g r o s
s i ns ubor di nat i on, among ot her s , r es ul t i ng t oloss of confidence and trust.

"HELD: NO.This self-description of GTZ in its own official website gives further cause
for pause in adopt i ng pet i t i oner s ar gument t hat GTZ i s entitled to immunity from
suit because it is "an i mp l e me n t i n g a g e n c y . " T h e a b o v e -
q u o t e d s t a t e m e n t d o e s n o t d i s p u t e t h e char
acterization of GTZ as an "implementingagency of the Federal Republic of
Germany, "yet i t bol s t er s t he not i on t hat as a company
or gani z ed under pr i vat e l aw, i t has a l egal personality independent of that of the
Federal Republic of Germany. The Cour t i s t hus hol ds and s o r ul es
t h a t GT Z c o n s i s t e n t l y h a s b e e n u n a b l e t o es t abl i s h wi t h s at i s f act i on t h
at i t enj oys t heimmunity from suit generally enjoyed by its
p a r e n t c o u n t r y , t h e F e d e r a l R e p u b l i c o f Germany.

G.R. No. 187425 March 28, 2011
COMMISSIONER OF CUSTOMS, Petitioner, vs. AGFHA INCORPORATED, Respondent.
D E C I S I O N

This is a petition for review on certiorari under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court assailing the
February 25, 2009 Decision
1
of the Court of Tax Appeals En Banc (CTA-En Banc), in CTA EB
Case No. 136, which affirmed the October 18, 2005 Resolution
2
of its Second Division (CTA-
Second Division), in CTA Case No. 5290, finding petitioner, the Commissioner of
Customs (Commissioner), liable to pay respondent AGFHA Incorporated (AGFHA)the amount
of US$160,348.08 for the value of the seized shipment which was lost while in petitioners
custody.
On December 12, 1993, a shipment containing bales of textile grey cloth arrived at the Manila
International Container Port (MICP). The Commissioner, however, held the subject shipment
because its owner/consignee was allegedly fictitious. AGFHA intervened and alleged that it was
the owner and actual consignee of the subject shipment.
On September 5, 1994, after seizure and forfeiture proceedings took place, the District Collector
of Customs, MICP, rendered a decision
3
ordering the forfeiture of the subject shipment in favor
of the government.
AGFHA filed an appeal. On August 25, 1995, the Commissioner rendered a decision
4
dismissing
it.
On November 4, 1996, the CTA-Second Division reversed the Commissioners August 25, 1995
Decision and ordered the immediate release of the subject shipment to AGFHA. The dispositive
portion of the CTA-Second Division Decision
5
reads:
WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing premises, the instant Petition for Review is hereby
GRANTED. Accordingly, the decision of the respondent in Customs Case No. 94-017, dated
August 25, 1995, affirming the decision of the MICP Collector, dated September 5, 1994, which
decreed the forfeiture of the subject shipments in favor of the government, is hereby
REVERSED and SET ASIDE. Respondent is hereby ORDERED to effect the immediate
RELEASE of the subject shipment of goods in favor of the petitioner. No costs.
SO ORDERED.
On November 27, 1996, the CTA-Second Division issued an entry of judgment declaring the
above-mentioned decision final and executory.
6

Thereafter, on May 20, 1997, AGFHA filed a motion for execution.
In its June 4, 1997 Resolution, the CTA-Second Division held in abeyance its action on
AGFHAs motion for execution in view of the Commissioners appeal with the Court of
Appeals (CA), docketed as CA-G.R. SP No. 42590 and entitled "Commissioner of Custom v. The
Court of Tax Appeals and AGFHA, Incorporated."
On May 31, 1999, the CA denied due course to the Commissioners appeal for lack of merit in a
decision,
7
the dispositive portion of which reads:
WHEREFORE, the instant petition is hereby DENIED DUE COURSE and DISMISSED for lack
of merit. Accordingly, the Commissioner of Customs is hereby ordered to effect the immediate
release of the shipment of AGFHA, Incorporated described as "2 x 40" Cont. No. NYKU-
6772906 and NYKU-6632117 STA 197 Bales of Textile Grey Cloth" placed under Hold Order
No. H/CI/01/2293/01 dated 22 January 1993.
No costs.
SO ORDERED.
Thereafter, the Commissioner elevated the aforesaid CA Decision to this Court via a petition for
review oncertiorari, docketed as G.R. No. 139050 and entitled "Republic of the Philippines
represented by the Commissioner of Customs v. The Court of Tax Appeals and AGFHA, Inc."
On October 2, 2001, the Court dismissed the petition.
8

On January 14, 2002, the Court denied with finality the Commissioners motion for
reconsideration of its October 2, 2001 Decision.
On March 18, 2002, the Entry of Judgment was issued by the Court declaring its aforesaid
decision final and executory as of February 5, 2002.
In view thereof, the CTA-Second Division issued the Writ of Execution, dated October 16, 2002,
directing the Commissioner and his authorized subordinate or representative to effect the
immediate release of the subject shipment. It further ordered the sheriff to see to it that the writ
would be carried out by the Commissioner and to make a report thereon within thirty (30) days
after receipt of the writ. The writ, however, was returned unsatisfied.
On July 23, 2003, the CTA-Second Division received a copy of AGFHAs Motion to Show
Cause dated July 21, 2003.
Acting on the motion, the CTA-Second Division issued a notice setting it for hearing on August
1, 2003 at 9:00 oclock in the morning.
In its August 13, 2003 Resolution, the CTA-Second Division granted AGFHAs motion and
ordered the Commissioner to show cause within fifteen (15) days from receipt of said resolution
why he should not be disciplinary dealt with for his failure to comply with the writ of execution.
On September 1, 2003, Commissioners counsel filed a Manifestation and Motion, dated August
28, 2003, attaching therewith a copy of an Explanation (With Motion for Clarification) dated
August 11, 2003 stating, inter alia, that despite diligent efforts to obtain the necessary
information and considering the length of time that had elapsed since the subject shipment
arrived at the Bureau of Customs, the Chief of the Auction and Cargo Disposal Division of the
MICP could not determine the status, whereabouts and disposition of said shipment.
Consequently, AGFHA filed its Motion to Cite Petitioner in Contempt of Court dated September
13, 2003. After a series of pleadings, on November 17, 2003, the CTA-Second Division denied,
among others, AGFHAs motion to cite petitioner in contempt for lack of merit. It, however,
stressed that the denial was without prejudice to other legal remedies available to AGFHA.
On August 13, 2004, the Commissioner received AGFHAs Motion to Set Case for Hearing,
dated April 12, 2004, allegedly to determine: (1) whether its shipment was actually lost; (2) the
cause and/or circumstances surrounding the loss; and (3) the amount the Commissioner should
pay or indemnify AGFHA should the latters shipment be found to have been actually lost.
On May 17, 2005, after the parties had submitted their respective memoranda, the CTA-Second
Division adjudged the Commissioner liable to AGFHA. Specifically, the dispositive portion of
the resolution reads:
WHEREFORE, premises considered, the Bureau of Customs is adjudged liable to petitioner
AGFHA, INC. for the value of the subject shipment in the amount of ONE HUNDERED SIXTY
THOUSAND THREE HUNDRED FORTY EIGHT AND 08/100 US DOLLARS
(US$160,348.08). The Bureau of Customs liability may be paid in Philippine Currency,
computed at the exchange rate prevailing at the time of actual payment, with legal interests
thereon at the rate of 6% per annum computed from February 1993 up to the finality of this
Resolution. In lieu of the 6% interest, the rate of legal interest shall be 12% per annum upon
finality of this Resolution until the value of the subject shipment is fully paid.
The payment shall be taken from the sale or sales of the goods or properties which were seized or
forfeited by the Bureau of Customs in other cases.
SO ORDERED.
9

On June 10, 2005, the Commissioner filed his Motion for Partial Reconsideration arguing that (a)
the enforcement and satisfaction of respondents money claim must be pursued and filed with the
Commission on Audit pursuant to Presidential Decree (P.D.) No. 1445; (b) respondent is entitled
to recover only the value of the lost shipment based on its acquisition cost at the time of
importation; and (c) taxes and duties on the subject shipment must be deducted from the amount
recoverable by respondent.
On the same day, the Commissioner received AGFHAs Motion for Partial Reconsideration
claiming that the 12% interest rate should be computed from the time its shipment was lost on
June 15, 1999 considering that from such date, petitioners obligation to release their shipment
was converted into a payment for a sum of money.
On October 18, 2005, after the filing of several pleadings, the CTA-Second Division
promulgated a resolution which reads:
WHEREFORE, premises considered, respondent Commissioner of Customs "Motion for Partial
Reconsideration" is hereby PARTIALLY GRANTED. The Resolution dated May 17, 2005 is
hereby MODIFIED but only insofar as the Court did not impose the payment of the proper duties
and taxes on the subject shipment. Accordingly, the dispositive portion of Our Resolution, dated
May 17, 2005, is hereby MODIFIED to read as follows:
WHEREFORE, premises considered, the Bureau of Customs is adjudged liable to petitioner
AGFHA, INC. for the value of the subject shipment in the amount of ONE HUNDRED SIXTY
THOUSAND THREE HUNDRED FORTY EIGHT AND 08/100 US DOLLARS
(US$160,348.08), subject however, to the payment of the prescribed taxes and duties, at the time
of the importation. The Bureau of Customs liability may be paid in Philippine Currency,
computed at the exchange rate prevailing at the time of actual payment, with legal interests
thereon at the rate of 6% per annum computed from February 1993 up to the finality of this
Resolution. In lieu of the 6% interest, the rate of legal interest shall be 12% per annum upon
finality of this Resolution until the value of the subject shipment is fully paid.
The payment shall be taken from the sale or sales of the goods or properties which were seized or
forfeited by the Bureau of Customs in other cases.
SO ORDERED.
Petitioner AGFHA, Inc.s "Motion for Partial Reconsideration" is hereby DENIED for lack of
merit.
SO ORDERED.
10

Consequently, the Commissioner elevated the above-quoted resolution to the CTA-En Banc.
On February 25, 2009, the CTA-En Banc promulgated the subject decision dismissing the
petition for lack of merit and affirming in toto the decision of the CTA-Second Division.
On March 18, 2009, the Commissioner filed his Motion for Reconsideration, but it was denied
by the CTA-En Banc in its April 13, 2009 Resolution.
Hence, this petition.
ISSUE
Whether or not the Court of Tax Appeals was correct in awarding the respondent the amount of
US$160,348.08, as payment for the value of the subject lost shipment that was in the custody of
the petitioner.
In his petition, the Commissioner basically argues two (2) points: 1] the respondent is entitled to
recover the value of the lost shipment based only on its acquisition cost at the time of
importation; and 2] the present action has been theoretically transformed into a suit against the
State, hence, the enforcement/satisfaction of petitioners claim must be pursued in another
proceeding consistent with the rule laid down in P.D. No. 1445.
He further argues that the basis for the exchange rate of its liability lacks basis. Based on the
Memorandum, dated August 27, 2002, of the Customs Operations Officers, the true value of the
subject shipment is US$160,340.00 based on its commercial invoices which have been found to
be spurious. The subject shipment arrived at the MICP on December 12, 1992 and the peso-
dollar exchange rate was P20.00 per US$1.00. Thus, this conversion rate must be applied in the
computation of the total land cost of the subject shipment being claimed by AGFHA
orP3,206,961.60 plus interest.
The Commissioner further contends that based on Executive Order No. 688 (The 1999 Tariff and
Customs Code of the Philippines), the proceeds from any legitimate transaction, conveyance or
sale of seized and/or forfeited items for importations or exportations by the customs bureau
cannot be lawfully disposed of by the petitioner to satisfy respondents money judgment. EO 688
mandates that the unclaimed proceeds from the sale of forfeited goods by the Bureau of
Customs (BOC) will be considered as customs receipts to be deposited with the Bureau of
Treasury and shall form part of the general funds of the government. Any disposition of the said
unclaimed proceeds from the sale of forfeited goods will be violative of the Constitution, which
provides that "No money shall be paid out of the Treasury except in pursuance of an
appropriation made by law."
11

Thus, the Commissioner posits that this case has been transformed into a suit against the State
because the satisfaction of AGFHAs claim will have to be taken from the national coffers. The
State may not be sued without its consent. The BOC enjoys immunity from suit since it is
invested with an inherent power of sovereignty which is taxation.
To recover the alleged loss of the subject shipment, AGFHAs remedy here is to file a money
claim with the Commission on Audit (COA) pursuant to Act No. 3083 (An Act Defining the
Condition under which the Government of the Philippine Island may be Sued) and
Commonwealth Act No. 327 (An Act Fixing the Time within which the Auditor General shall
render his Decisions and Prescribing the Manner of Appeal therefrom, as amended by P.D. No.
1445). Upon the determination of State liability, the prosecution, enforcement or satisfaction
thereof must still be pursued in accordance with the rules and procedures laid down in P.D. No.
1445, otherwise known as the Government Auditing Code of the Philippines.
On the other hand, AGFHA counters that, in line with prevailing jurisprudence, the applicable
peso-dollar exchange rate should be the one prevailing at the time of actual payment in order to
preserve the real value of the subject shipment to the date of its payment. The CTA-En Banc
Decision does not constitute a money claim against the State. The Commissioners obligation to
return the subject shipment did not arise from an import-export contract but from a quasi-
contract particularly solutio indebiti under Article 2154 of the Civil Code. The payment of the
value of the subject lost shipment was in accordance with Article 2159 of the Civil Code. The
doctrine of governmental immunity from suit cannot serve as an instrument for perpetrating an
injustice on a citizen. When the State violates its own laws, it cannot invoke the doctrine of state
immunity to evade liability. The commission of an unlawful or illegal act on the part of the State
is equivalent to implied consent.
THE COURTS RULING
The petition lacks merit.
The Court agrees with the ruling of the CTA that AGFHA is entitled to recover the value of its
lost shipment based on the acquisition cost at the time of payment.
In the case of C.F. Sharp and Co., Inc. v. Northwest Airlines, Inc. the Court ruled that the rate of
exchange for the conversion in the peso equivalent should be the prevailing rate at the time of
payment:
In ruling that the applicable conversion rate of petitioner's liability is the rate at the time of
payment, the Court of Appeals cited the case of Zagala v. Jimenez, interpreting the provisions of
Republic Act No. 529, as amended by R.A. No. 4100. Under this law, stipulations on the
satisfaction of obligations in foreign currency are void. Payments of monetary obligations,
subject to certain exceptions, shall be discharged in the currency which is the legal tender in the
Philippines. But since R.A. No. 529 does not provide for the rate of exchange for the payment of
foreign currency obligations incurred after its enactment, the Court held in a number of cases
that the rate of exchange for the conversion in the peso equivalent should be the prevailing
rate at the time of payment.
12
[Emphases supplied]
Likewise, in the case of Republic of the Philippines represented by the Commissioner of Customs
v. UNIMEX Micro-Electronics GmBH,
13
which involved the seizure and detention of a shipment
of computer game items which disappeared while in the custody of the Bureau of Customs, the
Court upheld the decision of the CA holding that petitioners liability may be paid in Philippine
currency, computed at the exchange rate prevailing at the time of actual payment.
On the issue regarding the state immunity doctrine, the Commissioner cannot escape liability for
the lost shipment of goods. This was clearly discussed in the UNIMEX Micro-Electronics
GmBH decision, where the Court wrote:
Finally, petitioner argues that a money judgment or any charge against the government requires a
corresponding appropriation and cannot be decreed by mere judicial order.
Although it may be gainsaid that the satisfaction of respondent's demand will ultimately fall on
the government, and that, under the political doctrine of "state immunity," it cannot be held liable
for governmental acts (jus imperii), we still hold that petitioner cannot escape its liability. The
circumstances of this case warrant its exclusion from the purview of the state immunity doctrine.
As previously discussed, the Court cannot turn a blind eye to BOC's ineptitude and gross
negligence in the safekeeping of respondent's goods. We are not likewise unaware of its
lackadaisical attitude in failing to provide a cogent explanation on the goods'
disappearance, considering that they were in its custody and that they were in fact the
subject of litigation. The situation does not allow us to reject respondent's claim on the
mere invocation of the doctrine of state immunity. Succinctly, the doctrine must be fairly
observed and the State should not avail itself of this prerogative to take undue advantage of
parties that may have legitimate claims against it.
In Department of Health v. C.V. Canchela & Associates, we enunciated that this Court, as the
staunch guardian of the people's rights and welfare, cannot sanction an injustice so patent in its
face, and allow itself to be an instrument in the perpetration thereof. Over time, courts have
recognized with almost pedantic adherence that what is inconvenient and contrary to reason is
not allowed in law. Justice and equity now demand that the State's cloak of invincibility against
suit and liability be shredded.1awphi1
Accordingly, we agree with the lower courts' directive that, upon payment of the necessary
customs duties by respondent, petitioner's "payment shall be taken from the sale or sales of
goods or properties seized or forfeited by the Bureau of Customs."
WHEREFORE, the assailed decisions of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. SP Nos. 75359 and
75366 are hereby AFFIRMED with MODIFICATION. Petitioner Republic of the Philippines,
represented by the Commissioner of the Bureau of Customs, upon payment of the necessary
customs duties by respondent Unimex Micro-Electronics GmBH, is hereby ordered to pay
respondent the value of the subject shipment in the amount of Euro 669,982.565. Petitioner's
liability may be paid in Philippine currency, computed at the exchange rate prevailing at the
time of actual payment.
SO ORDERED.
14
[Emphases supplied]
In line with the ruling in UNIMEX Micro-Electronics GmBH, the Commissioner of Customs
should pay AGFHA the value of the subject lost shipment in the amount of US$160,348.08
which liability may be paid in Philippine currency computed at the exchange rate prevailing at
the time of the actual payment.
WHEREFORE, the February 25, 2009 Decision of the Court of Tax Appeals En Banc, in CTA
EB Case No. 136, isAFFIRMED. The Commissioner of Customs is hereby ordered to pay, in
accordance with law, the value of the subject lost shipment in the amount of US$160,348.08,
computed at the exchange rate prevailing at the time of actual payment after payment of the
necessary customs duties.
SO ORDERED.



























DOH vs PHIL PHARMAWEALTH

FACTS:
Phil. Pharmawealth, Inc. (respondent) is a domesticcorporation engaged in the business of
manufacturing andsupplying pharmaceutical products to government hospitals inthe Philippines.
Secretary of Health Alberto G. Romualdez, Jr. issuedAdministrative Order (A.O.) No.
27,[3]Series of 1998,outlining the guidelines and procedures on the accreditation of government suppliers
for pharmaceutical products.
A.O. No. 27 was later amended by A.O. No. 10,[4]Series of 2000, providing for additional
guidelines for accreditation of drug suppliers aimed at ensuring that only qualified bidderscan
transact business with petitioner DOH12. Only products accredited by theCommittee shall be
allowed to be procured bythe DOH and all other entities under its jurisdiction.[5](Underscoring
supplied)
respondent submitted to petitioner DOH a request for theinclusion of additional items in its list
of accredited drug
products, including the antibiotic Penicillin G Benzathine.
petitioner DOH, issued an Invitation for Bids[9]for the procurement of 1.2 million units vials
of Penicillin G Benzathine (Penicillin G Benzathine contract).
respondent submitted its bid for the Penicillin G Benzathine contract.
only two companies participated, with respondent submitting the lower bid at however, of the
non-accreditation of respondents Penicillin G Benzathine product, the contract was awarded to
YSS. (another competitor)
Respondent thus filed a complaint with the RTC to nullify the award of the Penicillin G
Benzathine contract to YSS Laboratories, Inc. and direct defendant DOH,
defendantRomualdez, defendant Galon and defendant Lopez todeclare plaintiff Pharmawealth as
the lowest complying responsible bidder for the Benzathine contract, and that they accordingly
award the same to plaintiff company
and adjudge defendants Romualdez, Galon and Lopez liable, jointly and severally to plaintiff, f
or [the therein specified damages].

Petitioners subsequently filed MTD for dismissal of the complaint based on the doctrine of
state immunity.
respondent filed its comment/opposition contending, in the main, that the doctrine of state immunity
is not applicable considering that individual petitioners are being sued both in their official and
personal capacities, hence, they, not the state, would be liable for damages.
TC denied petitioners motion to dismiss.
CA: upheld the TC denial for MTDISSUE: whether the Court of Appeals erred in upholding the
denial of petitioners motion to dismiss.
HELD: NO
The suability of a government official depends on whether the official concerned was acting
within his official or jurisdictional capacity, and whether the acts done in theperformance of
official functions will result in a charge or financial liability against the government.
In the present case, suing individual petitioners in their personal capacities for damages in
connection with their alleged act of illegal[ly] abus[ing] their official positions to make sure that
plaintiff Pharmawealth would not be awarded the Benzathine contract [which act was]
done in bad faith and with full knowledge of the limits and breadth of their powers given
by law is permissible, in consonance with the foregoing principles.
For an officer who exceeds the power conferred on him by law cannot hide behind the plea of
sovereign immunity and must bear the liability personally.
While the doctrine of state immunity appears to prohibit only suits against the state without its
consent, it is also applicable to complaints filed against officials of the state for acts
allegedly performed by them in the discharge of their duties. The suit is regarded as one
against the state where satisfaction of the judgment against the officials will require the state
itself to perform a positive act, such as the appropriation of the amount necessary to pay the
damages awarded against them.
DOH, the defense of immunity from suit will not avail despite its being an unincorporated
agency of the government, for the only causes of action directed against it are preliminary
injunction and mandamus.
the defense of state immunity from suit does not apply in causes of action which do not seek to
impose a charge or financial liability against the State.
As regards individual petitioners suability for damages, the following discussion on the
applicability of the defense of state immunity from suit is relevant.
While the doctrine of state immunity appears to prohibit only suits against the state without its
consent, it is also applicable to complaints filed against officials of the state for acts
allegedly performed by them in the discharge of their duties
. The suit is regarded as one against the state where satisfaction of the judgment against the
officials will require the state itself to perform a positive act, such as the appropriation of the
amount necessary to pay the damages awarded against them.

Shauf v. Court of Appeals
elucidates:
Inasmuch as the State authorizes only legal acts by its officers, unauthorized acts of
government officials or officers are not acts of the State, and an action against the officials
or officers by one whose rights have been invaded or violated by such acts, for the
protection of his rights, is not a suit against the State within the rule of immunity of
the State from suit. In the same tenor, it has been said that an action at law or suit in equity
against a State officer or the director of a State department on the ground that, while claiming
to act for the State, he violates or invades the personal and property rights of the plaintiff,
under an unconstitutional act or under an assumption of authority which he does not have,
is not a suit against the State within the constitutional provision that the State may not be
sued without its consent.
The rationale for this ruling is that the doctrine of state immunity cannot be used as an
instrument for perpetrating an injustice. (Emphasis and underscoring supplied)
the rule does not apply where the public official is charged in his official capacity for acts that
are unauthorized or unlawful and injurious to the rights of others. Neither does it apply where the
public official is clearly being sued not in his official capacity but in his personal capacity,
although the acts complained of may have been committed while he occupied a public position.




GR No. 171182 UP vs. Dizon
Doctrine
Retroactivity of Procedural/Remedial Statues
Law
Article 4 of NCC | Article 2252 of NCC
FACTS
Petitioner UP contracted respondent Stern Builders Inc. for the extension and renovation of
the CAS Building in UPLB
When UP failed to pay in the amount of P273k due COA disallowance, respondent filed a case
against UP in RTC QC that resulted in the decision to garnish public funds amounting to P16M
On Nov 28, 2001 RTC rendered a decision in favor of respondent. UP failed to file an
appeal during the15-day reglementary period after promulgation of said decision.
UP files for appeal only on June 3 2002, arguing that the UP OLS only received a copy
May 31 2002.RTC denied said appeal since it has been filed out of time.
RTC issues writ of execution Oct 4 2002
UP files to CA and SC for certiorari to assail decision due to the denial of due course
petition denied
On Dec 21 2004, RTC respondent Judge Dizon orders for the release of garnished funds of UP
On Jan 10 2005, UP files for certiorari to assail said decision to CA petition granted and
TRO filed
After 60-day TRO, RTC directs sheriff to receive the check from DBP
On July 8, 2005 Respondent Dizon ordered the non-withdrawal of check on basis the certiorari
is pending
On Sept 16 2005, UP files for certiorari denied on Dec 2005 but UP files for petition for
review
On Jan 2006, Dizon denies motion to withdraw since UP is filing for petition to CA
On Jan 3 2007, RTC Judge Yadao (replaced Dizon) now ordered the withdrawal
On Jan 22 2007, UP filed for TRO to SC granted
UP files petition of review for RTC decision to withdraw funds

ISSUES
WoN the finality of the Nov 28 2001 decision can be challenged
WoN the fresh-period rule announced in Neypes v CA can be given retroactive application

HELD
Petition GRANTED. CA decision REVERSED and SET ASIDE. RTC order for garnishment of
funds ANNULED. Awards for actual damages, moral damages, and attorneys fees in RTC decision
DELETED.
Can the finality of the Nov 28 2001 decision be challenged?
YES. As a general rule, once a decision has become final and executory, the prevailing party
should not be deprived of reaping the fruits of victory. But an exception to this would be when
circumstances transpire after the finality of the decision to render the execution unjust
and inequitable.
In the present case, SC rules that the non-acceptance of RTC to the appeal made by UP for the
Nov 28, 2001 decision was inequitable and was a clear violation to UPs right to due process:

The service of the denial for MR was defective since it was not given to the counsel of
record, the OLS, but to Atty Nolasco of UPLB Legal. Only by May 31 2002 did
OLS receive a copy
The filing of the notice of appeal on Jun 3 was well within the reglementary period (as
per the fresh-period rule)
For equity, the fresh-period rule should and must apply in this case
QED the finality of RTC decision is set aside Can the fresh-period rule announced in
Neypes v CA be given retroactive application?

YES. The retroactive effect of a procedural law does not come within the legal conception of
retroactivity or is not subject to the general rule prohibiting the retroactive operation of statutes
(Sec4, NCC) rather, its retroactivity is already given since, by the nature of rules of
procedure, no vested right is impinged in its application (Sec 2252, NCC)
In the present case, the retroactive application of the fresh-period rule need not even be
questioned since the rule came into effect in 1998 by the Neypes v CA judgment

Pet i t i oner f i l ed an act i on i n t he CFI of Zamboanga Ci t y f or t he revocation
of a Deed of Donation which he had his wife had made to the Bureau of Plant and
Industry. He claimed that the done failed to comply with the condition of the
donation. Ordinarily, a suit of this nature cannot prosper. It would, however, be
manifestlyu n f a i r f o r t h e g o v e r n me n t , a s d o n e e , wh i c h i s a l l e g e d t o h a
v e violated the condition under which it received gratuitously certain property, to invoke its
immunity. Since it would be against equity and justice to allow such defense in this case,
consent to be sued could be presumed (Santiago vs. Republic, 87 SCRA 294).

When the government takes any property for public use, which is condition upon the
payment of just compensation, to be judicially ascertained, it makes manifest that it
submits to the jurisdiction of a court. The Court may proceed with the complaint and determine
the compensation to which the petitioner are entitle (Ministerio vs.CFI, 40 SCRA 464).

Consent to execution
Co n s e n t t o b e s u e d d o e s n o t i n c l u d e c o n s e n t t o t h e e x e c u t i o n o f
j udgment agai ns t i t . Such execut i on wi l l r equi r e anot her wai ver , because
the power of the court ends when the judgment is rendered, since government funds and
properties may not be seized under writs of execution or garnishment, unless such
disbursement is covered by the corresponding appropriation as required by law (Republic v.
Villasor, 54SCRA 84).

Rules Regarding Garnishment or Levy of Government Funds in Government Depository:
General Rule: Government funds deposited with PNB or authorizeddepositories
cannot be subject to garnishment.
Exceptions:
1. where law or ordinance has already been enacted appropriating aspecific
amount to pay a valid governmental obligation (Municipality of San Miguel, Bulacan v.
Fernandez, GR No. L-61744, June 25, 1984)
2. funds belonging to government corporations which can sue and besues that are
deposited with a bank (PNB v. Pabalan, 83 SCRA 595)
.
Rules Regarding Payment of Interests by Government in Money Judgments Against it:
General Rule: Government cannot be made to pay interests;
Exceptions:
1 . e mi n e n t d o ma i n ;
2.erroneous collection of taxes; or
3.where government aggress to pay interest pursuant to law.

CASES
When a municipality fails or refuses without justifiable reason to effect payment of a final
money judgment rendered against it, the claimant may avail of the remedy of mandamus in order
to compel t h e e n a c t me n t a n d a p p r o v a l o f t h e n e c e s s a r y a p p r o p r i a t i o n
ordinance and the corresponding disbursement of municipal funds (Municipality of Makati
vs. CA, 190 SCRA 206).
T h e r u l e i s a n d h a s a l wa y s b e e n t h a t a l l g o v e r n me n t f u n d s d e p o s i
t e d i n t h e P N B o r a n y o t h e r o f f i c i a l d e p o s i t a r y o f t h e Philippine
Government by any of its agencies or instrumentalities remain government funds and may
not be subject to
garnishmento r l e v y , i n t h e a b s e n c e o f a c o r r e s p o n d i n g a p p r o p r i
a t i o n a s required by law. Even though the rule as to immunity of a
statef r o m s u i t i s r e l a x e d , t h e p o w e r o f t h e c o u r t s e n d s w h e n t
h e judgment is rendered. The functions and public services rendered by the State cannot be
allowed to be paralyzed or disrupted by the diversion of public funds from their legitimate and
specific objects, as appr opr i at ed by l aw. However , t he r ul e i s not abs ol ut e
anda d m i t s o f a w e l l -
d e f i n e d e x c e p t i o n , t h a t i t , w h e n t h e r e i s a corresponding appropriation
is required by law. In such a case, the monetary judgment may be legally enforced by
judicial processes (City of Caloocan vs. Allarde, GR 107271, Sept. 10, 2003)

S u i t s a g a i n s t
f o r e i g n states / international organizations

CASES
The Republic of the Philippines has accorded the Holy See the status of a foreign
sovereign. The privilege of sovereign immunity in this case was sufficiently established
by the memorandum and certification of the Department of Foreign Affairs. Where
the plea of immunity is recognized and affirmed by the executive branch, it is the duty of the
courts to accept this claim so as not to embarrass the executive arm of the government in
conducting the countrys f or ei gn r el at i ons . Pur s uant t o t he 1961 Vi enna
Convent i on on Diplomatic Relations, a diplomatic envoy is granted immunity from the
civil and administrative jurisdiction of the receiving state over any real action
relating to private immovable property situated in the territory of the receiving state
which the envoy holds on behalf of t he s endi ng s t at e f or t he pur pos es of t he
mi s s i on ( Hol y See vs . Rosario, GR 101949, December 1, 1994)
.
The t r adi t i onal r ul e of St at e i mmuni t y exempt s a St at e f r ombei ng s ued i n
t he cour t s of anot her St at e wi t hout i t s cons ent or waiver. This rule is a
necessary consequence of the principles
of i n d e p e n d e n c e a n d e q u a l i t y o f S t a t e s . H o w e v e r , t h e r u l e s o
f International Law are not petrified; they are constantly developing and evolving. And because
the activities of states have multiplied, i t has been neces s ar y t o di s t i ngui s h t hem
bet ween s over ei gn and governmental acts (jure imperii) and private, commercial
and proprietary acts (jure gestionis). The result is that State immunity now extends
only to acts jure imperii. A state may be said to have descended to the level of an
individual and can thus be deemed to have tacitly given its consent to be sued only when
it enters into business contracts. The rule does not apply where the contract r el at es
t o t he exer ci s e of i t s s over ei gn f unct i ons and i s not f or commercial or business
purposes (USA vs, Ruiz, 136 SCRA 487).

I n t e r n a t i o n a l l a w i s f o u n d e d l a r g e l y u p o n t h e p r i n c i p l e s o f r eci pr o
ci t y, comi t y, i ndependence, and equal i t y of St at es whi chwere adopted as
part of the law of our land under Art. II, Sec. 2 of t h e 1 9 8 7
Co n s t i t u t i o n . T h e r u l e t h a t a S t a t e ma y n o t b e s u e d without its consent is
necessary consequence of the principles and i ndependence and equal i t y
of St at es . However , t he i ncr eas i ng need of sovereign States to enter into purely
commercial activities r e mo t e l y c o n n e c t e d wi t h t h e d i s c h a r g e
o f t h e i r g o v e r n me n t a l f unct i ons br ought about a new concept of s over ei g
n i mmuni t y. Thi s concept , t he r es t r i ct i ve t heor y, hol ds t hat i mmuni t y of t
hesovereign is recognized only with regard to public acts or acts jure imperii, but not with
regard to private acts or jure gestionis. Is the foreign State engaged in the regular conduct
of business? If the foreign State is not engaged regularly in a business or commercial
act i vi t y, or i f t he act i s i n pur s ui t of a s over ei gn act i vi t y, or an incident
thereof, then it is an act jure imperii (Republic of Indonesia vs. Vinzon, GR 154705, June 25,
2003)
.
S l a n d e r i n g a p e r s o n c o u l d n o t p o s s i b l y b e c o v e r e d b y t h e i
m m u n i t y a g r e e m e n t b e c a u s e o u r l a w s d o n o t a l l o w
t h e commi s s i on of a cr i me i n t he name of of f i ci al dut y. I t i s a wel l -
s et t l ed pr i nci pl e of l aw t hat a publ i c of f i ci al may be l i abl e i n
hi s p e r s o n a l p r i v a t e c a p a c i t y f o r wh a t e v e r d a ma g e h e ma y h a v e
caus ed by hi s act done wi t h mal i ce or i n bad f ai t h or beyond t he scope of his
authority or jurisdiction. Under the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, the
commission of a crime is not part of official duty (Liang vs. People, GR 125865, January
28, 2002).






Immunity from Suit of an International Organization and its Officers

What is the concept of sovereign immunity in international law?
There are two conflicting concepts of sovereign immunity, according to the Supreme Court: (a)
Classical or absolute theory a sovereign cannot, without its consent, be made a respondent in
the courts of another sovereign; and (b) Restrictive theory the immunity of the sovereign is
recognized only with regard to public acts or acts jure imperii of a state, but not with regard to
private acts or acts jure gestionis.
What is the Constitutional basis for the grant of immunity to foreign
governments/embassies, the United Nations (UN) and other international organizations in
the Philippines?
The Constitution provides (Art. II, Sec. 2) that the Philippines adopts the generally accepted
principles of international law. Rules of international law form part of Philippine law under the
doctrine of incorporation. Also, among the oldest and most fundamental maxims of international
law is pacta sunt servanda, which requires the parties to a treaty to keep their agreement therein
in good faith.
What is the treaty that governs the sovereign immunity of diplomats and other state
agents?
The Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, which was ratified on 18 April 1961, is a
codification of centuries-old customary law affording protection to foreign diplomats. The
Convention lists the classes of heads of diplomatic missions to include (a) ambassadors or
nuncios accredited to the heads of state, (b) envoys, ministers or internuncios accredited to the
heads of states; and (c) charges d affairs accredited to the ministers of foreign affairs.
Comprising the staff of the (diplomatic) mission are the diplomatic staff, the administrative
staff and the technical and service staff.
Does the immunity apply even if a person is not the head of the diplomatic mission or part
of the staff?
Immunity can still attach under the generally-accepted principle in international law that a State
cannot be sued in the courts of a foreign state. The immunity attaches not just to the head of
state, or his representative, but also distinctly to the state itself in its sovereign capacity. If the
acts giving rise to a suit are those of a foreign government done by its foreign agent, although not
necessarily a diplomatic personage, but acting in his official capacity, the complaint could be
barred by the immunity of the foreign sovereign from suit without its consent.
How does the Philippine government treat the Holy See or Vatican?
The Philippines has accorded the Holy See the status of a foreign sovereign. The Holy See,
through its Ambassador, the Papal Nuncio, has had diplomatic representations with the
Philippine government since 1957. This appears to be the universal practice in international
relations.
What is the applicable treaty for immunities to the United Nations (UN) and its agencies?
The Philippines is a member of the UN and a party to the Convention on the Privileges and
Immunities of the Specialized Agencies of the United Nations. It adheres to the doctrine of
immunity granted to the UN and its specialized agencies. These treaties have the force and effect
of law here in the Philippines.
What are examples of specialized agencies of the UN?
Among the UN specialized agencies, the immunity of which were upheld by the Philippine
Supreme Court: World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations Revolving Fund for
Natural Resources Exploration (UNRFNRE).
What are examples of international organizations, other than the UN, that have been
accorded immunity in the Philippines?
1. Southeast Asian Fisheries Development Center (SEAFDEC), which was established by
Burma, Cambodia, Indonesia, Japan, Laos, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and
Vietnam, for the purpose of contributing to the promotion of the fisheries development in
Southeast Asia.
2. International Rice Research Institute (IRRI), which enjoys immunities accorded to
international organizations. Presidential Decree No. 1620 provides:
Art. 3. Immunity from Legal Process. The Institute shall enjoy immunity from any penal, civil
and administrative proceedings, except insofar as that immunity has been expressly waived by
the Director-General of the Institute or his authorized representatives.
3. International Catholic Migration Commission (ICMC), which was accredited by the
Philippine Government to operate the refugee processing center in Morong, Bataan. Its a non-
profit agency involved in international humanitarian and voluntary work.
4. Asian Development Bank (ADB). Being an international organization that has been extended
diplomatic status, the ADB is independent of the municipal law. The Supreme Court, while
cognizant of this immunity, also found that the immunity applies only to acts performed in an
official capacity. Section 45 (a) of the Agreement Between the Asian Development Bank and the
Government of the Republic of the Philippines Regarding the Headquarters of the Asian
Development Bank provides:
Officers and staff of the Bank, including for the purpose of this Article experts and consultants
performing missions for the Bank, shall enjoy the following privileges and immunities:
(a) Immunity from legal process with respect to acts performed by them in their official capacity
except when the Bank waives the immunity.
The imputation of theft is ultra vires and cannot be part of official functions. It cannot possibly
be covered by the immunity agreement because our laws do not allow the commission of a
crime, such as defamation, in the name of official duty.
What is the rationale for the grant of immunity to international organizations?
The objective for the grant of immunity from local jurisdiction is to avoid the danger of partiality
and interference by the host country in the internal workings of these international organizations
or agencies. It is intended to shield the organization from political pressure or control by the host
country to the prejudice of member States of the organization, and to ensure the unhampered
performance of their functions.
What is the remedy of a Filipino citizen in cases where an act is covered by the doctrine of
sovereign or diplomatic immunity?
The remedy is for an aggrieved person to ask the Philippine government to espouse his cause
through diplomatic channels.
Sources: Minucher vs. CA, G.R. No. 142396, 11 February 2003; The Holy See vs. Rosario, Jr.,
G.R. No. 101949, 1 December 1994; Callado vs. IRRI, G.R. No. 106483, 22 May 1995; ICIC vs.
Calleja, G.R. No. 85750, 28 September 1990; DFA vs. NLRC, G.R. No. 113191, 18 September
1996; Liang vs. People, G.R. No. 125865, 28 January 2000