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Torio v. Fontanilla, GR No. L-29993. Oct.

23, 1978 Held:

Facts: 1. The holding of the town fiesta in 1959 by the municipality of Malsiqui Pangasinan
was an exercise of a private or proprietary function of the municipality.
On October 21, 1978, the municipal council of Malasiqui, Pangasinan passed
2 resolutions: one for management of the town fiesta celebration and the other for Section 2282 of the Chatter on Municipal Law of the Revised Administrative Code
the creation of the Malasiqui Town Fiesta Executive Committee. The Executive simply gives authority to the municipality to celebrate a yearly fiesta but it does not
Committee, in turn, organized a sub-committee on entertainment and stage with impose upon it a duty to observe one. Holding a fiesta even if the purpose is to
Jose Macaraeg as Chairman. The council appropriated the amount of P100.00 for commemorate a religious or historical event of the town is in essence an act for the
the construction of 2 stages, one for the "zarzuela" and another for the cancionan. special benefit of the community and not for the general welfare of the
While the zarzuela was being held, the stage collapsed. Vicente Fontanilla was public performed in pursuance of a policy of the state. The mere fact that the
pinned underneath and died in the afternoon of the following day. Fontanilla’s heirs celebration, as claimed was not to secure profit or gain but merely to provide
filed a complaint for damages with the CFI of Manila. The defendants were the entertainment to the town inhabitants is not a conclusive test. For instance, the
municipality, the municipal council and the municipal council members. In its Answer, maintenance of parks is not a source of income for the nonetheless it is private
defendant municipality argued that as a legally and duly organized public corporation undertaking as distinguished from the maintenance of public schools, jails, and the
it performs sovereign functions and the holding of a town fiesta was an exercise of its like which are for public service. No governmental or public policy of the state is
governmental functions from which no liability can arise to answer for the negligence involved in the celebration of a town fiesta.
of any of its agents. The defendant councilors, in turn, maintained that they merely
acted as agents of the municipality in carrying out the municipal ordinance providing Municipal corporations exist in a dual capacity, and their functions are two fold. In
for the management of the town fiesta celebration and as such they are likewise not one they exercise the right springing from sovereignty, and while in the performance
liable for damages as the undertaking was not one for profit; furthermore, they had of the duties pertaining thereto, their acts are political and governmental Their
exercised due care and diligence in implementing the municipal ordinance. CFI held officers and agents in such capacity, though elected or appointed by the are
that the municipal council exercised due diligence in selecting the person to nevertheless public functionaries performing a public service, and as such they are
construct the stage and dismissed the complaint. CA reversed the decision and held officers, agents, and servants of the state. In the other capacity, the municipalities
all defendants solidarily liable for damages. exercise a private, proprietary or corporate right, arising from their existence as legal
persons and not as public agencies. Their officers and agents in the performance of
Issues: such functions act in behalf of the municipalities in their corporate or individual
capacity, and not for the state or sovereign power.
1. Is the celebration of a town fiesta authorized by a municipal council a
governmental or a corporate function of the municipality? 2. Under the doctrine of respondent superior, petitioner-municipality is liable for
damages for the death of Vicente Fontanilla because the accident was attributable to
2. Is the municipality liable for the death of Fontanilla? the negligence of the municipality's officers, employees, or agents.

3. Are the municipal councilors who enacted the ordinance and created the fiesta Art. 2176, Civil Code: Whoever by act or omission causes damage to another, there
committee liable for the death of Fontanilla?
being fault or negligence, is obliged to pay for the damage done. . .
Torio vs. Fontanilla, L-29993 (October 23, 1978)
Art. 2180, Civil Code: The obligation imposed by article 2176 is demandable not only
Posted on October 3, 2012
for one's own acts or omission, but also for those of persons for whom one is

responsible. G.R. No. L-29993; 85 SCRA 399

It was found that the stage was not strong enough considering that only P100.00 was October 23, 1978
appropriate for the construction of two stages and while the floor of the "zarzuela"
stage was of wooden planks, the post and braces used were of bamboo material. Facts:
The collapse of the stage was also attributable to the great number of onlookers who
mounted the stage. The municipality and/or its agents had the necessary means The Municipal Council of Malasiqui, Pangasinan, passed Resolution No. 159
within its command to prevent such an occurrence. But they failed take the “to manage the 1959 Malasiqui town fiesta celebration…” The “1959 Malasiqui ‘Town
necessary steps to maintain the safety of the stage, particularly, in preventing non- Fiesta Executive Committee” was created, which, in turn, organized a sub-committee
participants or spectators from mounting and accumulating on the stage. on entertainment and stage.

Municipality cannot evade ability and/or liability under the fact that it was Jose A “zarzuela” troupe, of which Vicente Fontanilla was a member, arrived for
Macaraeg who constructed the stage. The municipality acting through its municipal their performance on January 22. During the “zarzuela”, the stage collapsed and
council appointed Macaraeg as chairman of the sub-committee on entertainment and Fontanilla was pinned underneath. He was immediately hospitalized, but died the
in charge of the construction of the "zarzuela" stage. Macaraeg acted merely as an
following day.
agent of the Municipality. Under the doctrine of respondent superior mentioned
earlier, petitioner is responsible or liable for the negligence of its agent acting within
Fontanilla’s heirs filed a complaint to recover damages against the
his assigned tasks.
Municipality of Malasiqui, its Municipal Council and all the Council’s individual
3. The celebration of a town fiesta by the Municipality of Malasiqui was not a members.
governmental function. The legal consequence thereof is that the Municipality stands
on the same footing as an ordinary private corporation with the municipal council The municipality invoked inter alia the defense that as a legally and duly
acting as its board of directors. It is an elementary principle that a corporation has a organized public corporation it performs sovereign functions and the holding of a
personality, separate and distinct from its officers, directors, or persons composing it town fiesta was an exercise of its governmental functions from which no liability can
and the latter are not as a rule co-responsible in an action for damages for tort or arise to answer for the negligence of any of its agents.
negligence culpa aquilla committed by the corporation's employees or agents unless
there is a showing of bad faith or gross or wanton negligence on their part. The The councilors maintained that they merely acted as the municipality’s agents
records do not show that municipal councilors directly participated in the defective in carrying out the municipal ordinance and as such they are likewise not liable for
construction of the "zarzuela" stage or that they personally permitted spectators to go damages as the undertaking was not one for profit; furthermore, they had exercised
up the platform. Thus, they are absolved from liability. (Torio vs. Fontanilla, GR No.
due care and diligence in implementing the municipal ordinance.
L-29993, October 23, 1978)
After trial, the RTC dismisses the complaint, concluding that the Executive With respect to proprietary functions, the settled rule is that a municipal
Committee had exercised due diligence and care in selecting a competent man for corporation can be held liable to third persons ex contract or ex delicto. They may
the construction of the stage, and the collapse was due to forces beyond the control also be subject to suit upon contracts and its tort.
of the committee. Consequently, the defendants were not liable for the death of
Vicente Fontanilla. Upon appeal, the Court of Appeals reversed the trial court’s Wylie v. Rarang, GR No. 74135, May 28 1992, 209 SCRA 357
decision and ordered all the defendants-appellees to pay jointly and severally the
heirs of Vicente Fontanilla the sums of P12,000.00 by way of moral and actual
FACTS:
damages:P1200.00 its attorney’s fees; and the costs.

Issue: Whether or not the Municipality of Malasiqui may be held liable. Petitioner M. H. Wylie was the assistant administrative officer while petitioner Capt.
James Williams was the commanding officer of the U. S. Naval Base in Subic Bay,
Held: Yes. Under Philippine laws, municipalities are political bodies endowed with Olongapo City. Private respondent Aurora I. Rarang was an employee in the office of
the faculties of municipal corporations to be exercised by and through their the Provost Marshal assigned as merchandise control guard.
respective municipal governments in conformity with law, and in their proper
corporate name, they may inter alia sue and be sued, and contract and be M. H. Wylie, in his capacity as assistant administrative officer of the U.S. Naval
contracted with. Station supervised the publication of the "Plan of the Day" (POD) which was
published daily by the US Naval Base station. The POD featured important
The powers of a municipality are two-fold in character: public, governmental
announcements, necessary precautions, and general matters of interest to military
or political on the one hand; and corporate, private, or proprietary on the other.
personnel. One of the regular features of the POD was the "action line inquiry." On
Governmental powers are those exercised by the corporation in administering the
February 3, 1978, the POD made a publication, under the "NAVSTA ACTION LINE
powers of the state and promoting the public welfare. These include the legislative,
INQUIRY" which mentioned a certain person named “Auring” who is described as a
judicial public, and political. Municipal powers, on the other hand, are exercised for
disgrace to her division and to the Office of the Provost Marshal.
the special benefit and advantage of the community. These include those which are
ministerial, private and corporate.
The private respondent was the only one who was named "Auring" in the Office of
This distinction of powers are necessary in determining the liability of the the Provost Marshal and was subsequently proven that it was her being referred to
municipality for the acts of its agents which result in injury to third persons. when petitioner M. H. Wylie wrote her a letter of apology for the "inadvertent"
publication. The private respondent the filed an action for damages alleging that the
If the injury is caused in the course of the performance of a governmental article constituted false, injurious, and malicious defamation and libel tending to
function/duty, no recovery can be had from the municipality unless there is an impeach her honesty, virtue and reputation exposing her to public hatred, contempt
existing statute on the matter, nor from its officers, so long as they performed their and ridicule; and that the libel was published and circulated in the English language
duties honestly and in good faith or that they did not act wantonly and maliciously. and read by almost all the U. S. Naval Base personnel.
The defendants however contended by filing a motion to dismiss based on the or negligence is obliged to pay for the damage done. Such fault or negligence, if
grounds that the defendants M. H. Wylie and Capt. James Williams acted in the there is no pre-existing contractual relation between the parties, is called a quasi-
performance of their official functions as officers of the United States Navy and are, delict and is governed by the provisions of this Chapter.
therefore, immune from suit; and the United States Naval Base is an instrumentality "Fault" or "negligence" in this Article covers not only acts "not punishable by law" but
of the US government which cannot be sued without its consent. also acts criminal in character, whether intentional or voluntary or negligent."

ISSUE: Whether or not the officials of the United States Naval Base are immune Moreover, Article 2219(7) of the Civil Code provides that moral damages may be
from suit. recovered in case of libel, slander or any other form of defamation. In effect, the
offended party in these cases is given the right to receive from the guilty party moral
HELD: The subject article in the US Newsletter POD dated February 3, 1978 damages for injury to his feelings and reputation in addition to punitive or exemplary
mentions a certain "Auring" as ". . a disgrace to her division and to the Office of the damages.
Provost Marshal." The same article explicitly implies that Auring was consuming and
appropriating for herself confiscated items like cigarettes and foodstuffs. There is no Indeed the imputation of theft contained in the POD dated February 3, 1978 is a
question that the Auring alluded to in the Article was the private respondent as she defamation against the character and reputation of the private respondent. Petitioner
was the only Auring in the Office of the Provost Marshal. Moreover, as a result of this Wylie himself admitted that the Office of the Provost Marshal explicitly recommended
article, the private respondent was investigated by her supervisor. Before the article the deletion of the name Auring if the article were published. The petitioners,
came out, the private respondent had been the recipient of commendations by her however, were negligent because under their direction they issued the publication
superiors for honesty in the performance of her duties. without deleting the name "Auring." Such act or omission is ultra vires and cannot be
part of official duty. It was a tortious act which ridiculed the private respondent. As a
It may be argued that Captain James Williams as commanding officer of the naval result of the petitioners' act, the private respondent, according to the record, suffered
base is far removed in the chain of command from the offensive publication and it besmirched reputation, serious anxiety, wounded feelings and social humiliation,
would be asking too much to hold him responsible for everything which goes wrong specially so, since the article was baseless and false. The petitioners, alone, in their
on the base. This may be true as a general rule. In this particular case, however, the personal capacities are liable for the damages they caused the private respondent.
records show that the offensive publication was sent to the commanding officer for
approval and he approved it. The factual findings of the two courts below are based USA and Bradford v. Hon. Luis R. Reyes and Montoya
[219 SCRA 192, March 1, 1993]
on the records. The petitioners have shown no convincing reasons why our usual
G.R. No. 79253
respect for the findings of the trial court and the respondent court should be withheld
in this particular case and why their decisions should be reversed. Facts:

Article 2176 of the Civil Code prescribes a civil liability for damages caused by a Private respondent [Montoya] is an American citizen was employed as an
person's act or omission constituting fault or negligence, to wit: identification (I.D.) checker at the U.S. Navy Exchange (NEX) at the Joint United
Art. 2176. Whoever by act or omission, causes damage to another, there being fault States Military Assistance Group (JUSMAG) headquarters in Quezon City. Petitioner
[Bradford] also worked at NEX JUSMAG as an “activity manager”. There was an I. The rule that a state may not be sued without its consent, now expressed in Article
incident on 22 January 1987 whereby Bradford had Montoya’s person and XVI Section 3, of the 1987 Constitution, is one of the generally accepted principles of
belongings searched in front of many curious onlookers. This caused Montoya to feel international law that we have adopted as part of the law of our land under Article II,
aggrieved and to file a suit for damages. Section 2. This latter provision merely reiterates a policy earlier embodied in the
1935 and 1973 Constitutions and also intended to manifest our resolve to abide by
Contentions: the rules of the international community.
Bradford claimed that she was immune from suit because:
1) (This) action is in effect a suit against the United States of America, a foreign While the doctrine appears to prohibit only suits against the state without its consent,
sovereign immune from suit without its consent for the cause of action pleaded in the it is also applicable to complaints filed against officials of the state for acts allegedly
complaint; and performed by them in the discharge of their duties. The rule is that if the judgment
against such officials will require the state itself to perform an affirmative act to
2) Defendant, Maxine Bradford, as manager of the US Navy Exchange Branch at satisfy the same, such as the appropriation of the amount needed to pay the
JUSMAG, Quezon City, is immune from suit for act(s) done by her in the damages awarded against them, the suit must be regarded as against the state itself
performance of her official functions under the Philippines-United States Military although it has not been formally impleaded. It must be noted, however, that the rule
Assistance Agreement of 1947 and Military Bases Agreement of 1947, as amended. is not so all-encompassing as to be applicable under all circumstances.

Montoya argued that: It is a different matter where the public official is made to account in his capacity as
(a) Bradford, in ordering the search upon her person and belongings outside the such for acts contrary to law and injurious to the rights of plaintiff. As was clearly set
NEX JUSMAG store in the presence of onlookers, had committed an improper, forth by Justice Zaldivar in Director of the Bureau of Telecommunications, et al. vs.
unlawful and highly discriminatory act against a Filipino employee and had exceeded Aligaen, etc., et al. "Inasmuch as the State authorizes only legal acts by its officers,
the scope of her authority; (b) having exceeded her authority, Bradford cannot rely on unauthorized acts of government officials or officers are not acts of the State, and an
the sovereign immunity of the public petitioner because her liability is personal; (c) action against the officials or officers by one whose rights have been invaded or
Philippine courts are vested with jurisdiction over the case because Bradford is a violated by such acts, for the protection of his rights, is not a suit against the State
civilian employee who had committed the challenged act outside the U.S. Military within the rule of immunity of the State from suit. In the same tenor, it has been said
Bases; such act is not one of those exempted from the jurisdiction of Philippine that an action at law or suit in equity against a State officer or the director of a State
courts; and (d) Philippine courts can inquire into the factual circumstances of the department on the ground that, while claiming to act or the State, he violates or
case to determine whether or not Bradford had acted within or outside the scope of invades the personal and property rights of the plaintiff, under an unconstitutional act
her authority. 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
The doctrine of state immunity is at the core of this controversy. consent." The rationale for this ruling is that the doctrinaire of state immunity cannot
be used as an instrument for perpetrating an injustice.
Doctrine of State Immunity:
In the case of Baer, etc. vs. Tizon, etc., et al., it was ruled that:
The doctrine of state immunity and the exceptions thereto are summarized in Shauf
vs. Court of Appeals, thus: There should be no misinterpretation of the scope of the decision reached by this
Court. Petitioner, as the Commander of the United States Naval Base in Olongapo,
does not possess diplomatic immunity. He may therefore be proceeded against in his 1. A diplomatic agent shall enjoy immunity from the criminal jurisdiction of the
personal capacity, or when the action taken by him cannot be imputed to the receiving State. He shall also enjoy immunity from its civil and administrative
government which he represents. jurisdiction except in the case of:

Also, in Animos, et al. vs. Philippine Veterans Affairs Office, et al., we held that: xxx xxx xxx

. . . it is equally well-settled that where a litigation may have adverse consequences (c) an action relating to any professional or commercial activity exercised by the
on the public treasury, whether in the disbursements of funds or loss of property, the diplomatic agent in the receiving State outside his official functions (Emphasis
public official proceeded against not being liable in his personal capacity, then the supplied).
doctrine of non-suability may appropriately be invoked. It has no application,
however, where the suit against such a functionary had to be instituted because of Disposition:
his failure to comply with the duty imposed by statute appropriating public funds for Petition was dismissed.
the benefit of plaintiff or petitioner. . . . .

The aforecited authorities are clear on the matter. They state that the doctrine of G.R. No. 79253 March 1, 1993
immunity from suit will not apply and may not be invoked where the public official is
being sued in his private and personal capacity as an ordinary citizen. The cloak of UNITED STATES OF AMERICA and MAXINE BRADFORD, petitioners,vs.
protection afforded the officers and agents of the government is removed the
moment they are sued in their individual capacity. This situation usually arises where HON. LUIS R. REYES, as Presiding Judge of Branch 22, Regional Trial Court of Cavite,
the public official acts without authority or in excess of the powers vested in him. It is andNELIA T. MONTOYA, respondents.
a well-settled principle of law that a public official may be liable in his personal
private capacity for whatever damage he may have caused by his act donewith FACTS:
malice and in bad faith, or beyond the scope of his authority or jurisdiction. Private respondent, hereinafter referred to as Montoya, is an American citizen
who, at thetime material to this case, was employed as an identification (I.D.)
The agents and officials of the United States armed forces stationed in Clark Air checker at the U.S. NavyExchange (NEX) at the Joint United States Military
Base are no exception to this rule. [footnotes omitted] Assistance Group (JUSMAG) headquarters inQuezon City. She is married to one
Edgardo H. Montoya, a Filipino-American serviceman employedby the U.S. Navy
In the present case, it appears that Bradford was sued for acts done beyond and stationed in San Francisco, California. Petitioner Maxine Bradford,
the scope and beyond her place of official functions. Thus she may not avail of hereinafterreferred to as Bradford, is likewise an American citizen who was the
immunity. activity exchange manager atthe said JUSMAG Headquarters.As a consequence of
an incident which occurred on 22 January 1987 whereby her body andbelongings
She may not even avail of diplomatic immunity because Article 31 of the were searched after she had bought some items from the retail store of the
Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations admits of exceptions. It reads: NEXJUSMAG, where she had purchasing privileges, and while she was already at
the parking area,Montoya filed on7 May 1987 a complaint 1 with the Regional Trial
Court of her place of residence Cavite against Bradford for damages due to the
oppressive and discriminatory acts committed by the latterin excess of her authority
as store manager of the NEX JUSMAG.In support of the motion, the petitioners
claimed that JUSMAG, composed of an Army, Navy and AirGroup, had been Restraining Order on 7 December 1987 cannot beimpugned. The filing of the instant
established under the Philippine-United States Military Assistance Agreemententered petition and the knowledge thereof by the trial court did notprevent the latter from
into on 21 March 1947 to implement the United States' program of rendering proceeding with Civil Case No.224-87. "It is elementary that the mere pendency of a
militaryassistance to the Philippines. Its headquarters in Quezon City is considered a special civil action for certiorari, commenced inrelation to a case pending before a
temporary installationunder the provisions of Article XXI of the Military Bases lower Court, does not interrupt the course of the latter whenthere is no writ of
Agreement of 1947. Thereunder, "it ismutually agreed that the United States injunction restraining it."
shall have the rights, power and authority within the baseswhich are necessary for SALIENT POINTS:
the establishment, use and operation and defense thereof or appropriate forthe TheDoctrine of State Immunity sometimes called“the royal prerogative of
control thereof." The 1979 amendment of the Military Bases Agreement made it clear dishonesty”as declaredin the Constitution affirms,“The state may not be sued without its
that theUnited States shall have "the use of certain facilities and areas within the consent". This provision is merely recognition of the sovereign character of the state
bases and shall haveeffective command and control over such facilities and over andan express affirmationof the unwritten rule insulating it from the jurisdiction of the
United States personnel, employees,equipment and material." JUSMAG maintains, courtsof justice.According to JusticeHolmes the doctrine of non-suability is based not
at its Quezon City headquarters, a Navy Exchangereferred to as the NEX-JUSMAG. on any formalconception or obsolete theory but onthe logical and practical ground
Checking of purchases at the NEX is a routine procedureobserved at base retail that there can be no legal right against the authority, which makesthe law on which
outlets to protect and safeguard merchandise, cash and equipment pursuantto the right depends. Another justification is the practical consideration that thedemands
paragraphs 2 and 4(b) of NAVRESALEACT SUBIC INST. 5500.1. 7 Thus, Bradford's and inconveniences of litigation will divert the time and resources of the state from
order tohave purchases of all employees checked on 22 January 1987 was made in themore pressing matters demanding its attention, to the prejudice of the public
the exercise of herduties as Manager of the NEX-JUSMAG. welfare.The doctrine is also available to foreign states insofar as they are sought to
ISSUES: be sued in the courts ofthe local state.The added basis in this case is the principle of
whether or not the trial court committed grave abuse of discretion in denying the sovereignequality of states, underwhichone state cannot assert jurisdiction over
the motion todismiss based on the following grounds:(a) the complaint in Civil Case another inviolation of the maxim par in parem non habet imperium. To do so would “unduly
No. 224-87 is in effect a suit against the public petitioner, a foreignsovereign immune vex the peace of nations."
from suit which has not given consent to such suit and(b) Bradford is immune from
suit for acts done by her in the performance of her official functions asmanager of the Exemption: Article 31 of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations admits
U.S. Navy Exchange of JUSMAG pursuant to the Philippines-United States ofexceptions. It reads:
MilitaryAssistance Agreement of 1947 and the Military Bases Agreement of 1947, as 1. A diplomatic agent shall enjoy immunity from the criminal jurisdiction of the receivi
amended. ng State.He shall also enjoy immunity from its civil and administrative jurisdiction
HELD: except in the case
The petition was DENIED for lack of merit. There can be no doubt that on the of:xxx xxx xxx(c) an action relating to any professional or commercial activity exercis
basis of theallegations in the complaint, Montoya has a sufficient and viable cause of ed by the diplomatic agent in the receiving State outside his official functions
action. Bradford'spurported non-suability on the ground of state immunity is then a (Emphasis supplied).How may consent of the State to be sued given?The consent of
defense which may be pleaded inthe answer and proven at the trial.Since Bradford the state to be sued may be given expressly or impliedly. Express consent may
did not file her Answer within the reglementary period, the trial court bemanifested either through a general law or a special law. Implied consent is given
correctlydeclared her in default upon motion of the private respondent. The judgment when the Stateitself commences litigation or when it enters into a contract. The
then rendered againsther on 10 September 1987 after the ex parte reception of the general law providing for thestanding consent of the State to be sued is Act No.3083,
evidence for the private respondentand before this Court issued the Temporary declaring that
“the Government of the hand, the officer impleaded may byhimself alone comply with the decision of the
Philippine Islands hereby consents and submits to be sued upon any moneyed claim court without the necessity o involvingthe State, thenthe suit can prosper against him
involvingliability arising from contract,express or implied, which could serve as a and will not be considered a claim againstthe State. Lastly, when apublic officer acts
basis of civil action between without or in excess of jurisdiction, any injurycaused by him is his own
private parties.” personalliability and cannot be imputed to the State.
Under C.A. No. 327 as amended by P.D. No. 1445, a claim against the government
mustfirst be filedwith the Commission on Audit, which must act upon it within sixty
(60)days. Rejection of the claimwill authorize the claimant to elevate the matter to Bayan v. Zamora, G.R. No. 138570, October 10, 2000
theSupreme Court on certiorari and in effect suethe state with its consent.The
express consent of the State to be sued must be embodied in a dulyenacted statute DECISION
and may not be given by a mere counsel of the government.It should also (En Banc)
beobserved that when the State gives its consent to be sued, it does not thereby also
to the executionof the judgment against it. Such execution will require another BUENA, J.:
waiver, lacking which the decisioncannot be enforced against the State.When is a
suit against a public official deemed to be a suit against the State?Because actions I. THE FACTS
are rarely instituted directly against the Republic of the Philippines, theusualpractice
is to file such claims not against the State itself but against the officer of the The Republic of the Philippines and the United States of America entered into an
governmentwho is supposed to discharge the responsibility or grant the agreement called the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA). The agreement was treated as a
redresseddemanded. It is importantthen, to determine if the State is the real party in treaty by the Philippine government and was ratified by then-President Joseph Estrada
with the concurrence of 2/3 of the total membership of the Philippine Senate.
interest, thatis, that the claim if proved will be adirect liability of the State and not
merely of theofficer impleaded. If this is shown, the action can bedismissed as a suit
The VFA defines the treatment of U.S. troops and personnel visiting the
against the Stateunless its immunity had been previously waived.There are many Philippines. It provides for the guidelines to govern such visits, and further defines the
instances when a public officer may be sued in his official capacitywithout rights of the U.S. and the Philippine governments in the matter of criminal jurisdiction,
thenecessity of first obtaining the consent of the State to be sued. A publicofficer may movement of vessel and aircraft, importation and exportation of equipment, materials
be impleaded torequire him to do a duty required by law, or to restrain himfrom doing and supplies.
an act alleged to beunconstitutional or illegal, or to recover from him taxesunlawfully
assessed or collected.It has been held also that where an action is filed againsta Petitioners argued, inter alia, that the VFA violates §25, Article XVIII of the 1987
public officer for recovery only of title orpossession of property claimed to be held Constitution, which provides that “foreign military bases, troops, or facilities shall not be
byhim in his official capacity, the said action is not a suitagainst the State for which allowed in the Philippines except under a treaty duly concurred in by the Senate . . . and
prior waiver of immunity is required. But it is different where there is anaddition a recognized as a treaty by the other contracting State.”
claim for recovery of damages, such as accrued rentals, inasmuch as it allowance
wouldrequire thegovernment to appropriate the necessary amount for the satisfaction II. THE ISSUE
of the judgment.Assuming the decision is rendered against the public officer
impleaded,enforcementthereof will require an affirmative act from the State, such as Was the VFA unconstitutional?
the appropriation oftheneeded amount to satisfy the judgment. If it does, the suit is
one against the State anditsinclusion as party defendant is necessary. If on the other III. THE RULING
[The Court DISMISSED the consolidated petitions, held that the petitioners did The records reveal that the United States Government, through Ambassador
not commit grave abuse of discretion, and sustained the constitutionality of the VFA.] Thomas C. Hubbard, has stated that the United States government has fully committed
to living up to the terms of the VFA. For as long as the United States of America accepts
NO, the VFA is not unconstitutional. or acknowledges the VFA as a treaty, and binds itself further to comply with its
obligations under the treaty, there is indeed marked compliance with the mandate of the
Section 25, Article XVIII disallows foreign military bases, troops, or facilities in the Constitution.
country, unless the following conditions are sufficiently met, viz: (a) it must be under
a treaty; (b) the treaty must be duly concurred in by the Senate and, when so required
by congress, ratified by a majority of the votes cast by the people in a national China National Machinery v. Santamaria
referendum; and (c) recognized as a treaty by the other contracting state.
Facts: On 14 September 2002, petitioner China National Machinery & Equipment
There is no dispute as to the presence of the first two requisites in the case of the Corp. (Group) (CNMEG), represented by its chairperson, Ren Hongbin, entered into
VFA. The concurrence handed by the Senate through Resolution No. 18 is in accordance
a Memorandum of Understanding with the North Luzon Railways Corporation
with the provisions of the Constitution . . . the provision in [in §25, Article XVIII] requiring
ratification by a majority of the votes cast in a national referendum being unnecessary (Northrail), represented by its president, Jose L. Cortes, Jr. for the conduct of a
since Congress has not required it. feasibility study on a possible railway line from Manila to San Fernando, La Union
(the Northrail Project).
xxx xxx xxx
On 30 August 2003, the Export Import Bank of China (EXIM Bank) and the
This Court is of the firm view that the phrase “recognized as a treaty” means Department of Finance of the Philippines (DOF) entered into a Memorandum of
that the other contracting party accepts or acknowledges the agreement as a treaty. To
Understanding (Aug 30 MOU), wherein China agreed to extend Preferential Buyer‘s
require the other contracting state, the United States of America in this case, to
submit the VFA to the United States Senate for concurrence pursuant to its Constitution, Credit to the Philippine government to finance the Northrail Project. The Chinese
is to accord strict meaning to the phrase. government designated EXIM Bank as the lender, while the Philippine government
named the DOF as the borrower. Under the Aug 30 MOU, EXIM Bank agreed to
Well-entrenched is the principle that the words used in the Constitution are to be extend an amount not exceeding USD 400,000,000 in favor of the DOF, payable in
given their ordinary meaning except where technical terms are employed, in which case
20 years, with a 5-year grace period, and at the rate of 3% per annum.
the significance thus attached to them prevails. Its language should be understood in the
sense they have in common use.
On 1 October 2003, the Chinese Ambassador to the Philippines, Wang Chungui
Moreover, it is inconsequential whether the United States treats the VFA only as (Amb. Wang), wrote a letter to DOF Secretary Jose Isidro Camacho (Sec. Camacho)
an executive agreement because, under international law, an executive agreement is as informing him of CNMEG‘s designation as the Prime Contractor for the Northrail
binding as a treaty. To be sure, as long as the VFA possesses the elements of an Project. On 30 December 2003, Northrail and CNMEG executed a Contract
agreement under international law, the said agreement is to be taken equally as a treaty. Agreement for the construction of Section I, Phase I of the North Luzon Railway
System from Caloocan to Malolos on a turnkey basis (the Contract Agreement).The
xxx xxx xxx
contract price for the Northrail Project was pegged at USD 421,050,000.
On 26 February 2004, the Philippine government and EXIM Bank entered into a Petitioners Argument: Petitioner claims that the EXIM Bank extended financial
counterpart financial agreement Buyer Credit Loan Agreement No. BLA 04055 (the assistance to Northrail because the bank was mandated by the Chinese government,
Loan Agreement). In the Loan Agreement, EXIM Bank agreed to extend Preferential and not because of any motivation to do business in the Philippines, it is clear from
Buyer‘s Credit in the amount of USD 400,000,000 in favor of the Philippine the foregoing provisions that the Northrail Project was a purely commercial
government in order to finance the construction of Phase I of the Northrail Project. transaction.

On 13 February 2006, respondents filed a Complaint for Annulment of Contract and Respondents Argument: respondents alleged that the Contract Agreement and the
Injunction with Urgent Motion for Summary Hearing to Determine the Existence of Loan Agreement were void for being contrary to (a) the Constitution; (b) Republic Act
Facts and Circumstances Justifying the Issuance of Writs of Preliminary Prohibitory No. 9184 (R.A. No. 9184), otherwise known as the Government Procurement Reform
and Mandatory Injunction and/or TRO against CNMEG, the Office of the Executive Act; (c) Presidential Decree No. 1445, otherwise known as the Government Auditing
Secretary, the DOF, the Department of Budget and Management, the National Code; and (d) Executive Order No. 292, otherwise known as the Administrative
Economic Development Authority and Northrail. The case was filed before the Code.
Regional Trial Court, National Capital Judicial Region, Makati City, Branch 145 (RTC
Br. 145). In the Complaint, respondents alleged that the Contract Agreement and the Issues: Whether or not petitioner CNMEG is an agent of the sovereign People‘s
Loan Agreement were void for being contrary to (a) the Constitution; (b) Republic Republic of China. Whether or not the Northrail contracts are products of an
Act No. 9184 (R.A. No. 9184), otherwise known as the Government Procurement executive agreement between two sovereign states.
Reform Act; (c) Presidential Decree No. 1445, otherwise known as the Government Ruling: The instant Petition is
Auditing Code; and (d) Executive Order No. 292, otherwise known as the
Administrative Code. DENIED. Petitioner China National Machinery & Equipment Corp. (Group) is not
entitled to immunity from suit, and the Contract Agreement is not an executive
On 15 May 2007, RTC Br. 145 issued an Omnibus Order denying CNMEG‘s Motion agreement.CNMEG‘s prayer for the issuance of a TRO and/or Writ of Preliminary
to Dismiss and setting the case for summary hearing to determine whether the Injunction is DENIED for being moot and academic. The Court explained the doctrine
injunctive reliefs prayed for should be issued. CNMEG then filed a Motion for of sovereign immunity in Holy See v. Rosario, to wit: There are two conflicting
Reconsideration, which was denied by the trial court in an Order dated 10 March concepts of sovereign immunity, each widely held and firmly established. According
2008. to the classical or absolute theory, a sovereign cannot, without its consent, be made
Thus, CNMEG filed before the CA a Petition for Certiorari with Prayer for the a respondent in the courts of another sovereign. According to the newer or restrictive
Issuance of TRO and/or Writ of Preliminary Injunction dated 4 April 2008. the theory, the immunity of the sovereign is recognized only with regard to public acts or
appellate court dismissed the Petition for Certiorari.Subsequently, CNMEG filed a acts jure imperii of a state, but not with regard to private acts or acts jure gestionis
Motion for Reconsideration, which was denied by the CA in a Resolution dated 5 Emphasis supplied; citations omitted.)
December 2008. As it stands now, the application of the doctrine of immunity from suit has been
restricted to sovereign or governmental activities (jure imperii ).The mantle of state
immunity cannot be extended to commercial, private and proprietary acts (jure quantity of heroin was said to have been seized. The narcotic agents were
gestionis). accompanied by private respondent Arthur Scalzo who became one of the principal
witnesses for the prosecution.
Since the Philippines adheres to the restrictive theory, it is crucial to ascertain the
legal nature of the act involved whether the entity claiming immunity performs In August 1988, Minucher filed Civil Case before the Regional Trial Court (RTC) for
governmental, as opposed to proprietary, functions. As held in United States of damages on the trumped-up‘ charges of drug trafficking made by Arthur Scalzo.
America v. Ruiz
ISSUE: WON private respondent Arthur Scalzo can be sued provided his alleged
Admittedly, the Loan Agreement was entered into between EXIM Bank and the diplomatic immunity conformably with the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic
Philippine government, while the Contract Agreement was between Northrail and Relations
CNMEG. Although the Contract Agreement is silent on the classification of the legal
nature of the transaction, the foregoing provisions of the Loan Agreement, which is RULING: The SC DENIED the petition. Conformably with the Vienna Convention,
an inextricable part of the entire undertaking, nonetheless reveal the intention of the the functions of the diplomatic mission involve, the representation of the interests of
parties to the Northrail Project to classify the whole venture as commercial or the sending state and promoting friendly relations with the receiving state. Only
proprietary in character. diplomatic agents are vested with blanket diplomatic immunity from civil and criminal
suits. Indeed, the main yardstick in ascertaining whether a person is a diplomat
Thus, piecing together the content and tenor of the Contract Agreement, the entitled to immunity is the determination of whether or not he performs duties of
Memorandum of Understanding dated 14 September 2002, Amb. Wang‘s letter dated diplomatic nature. Being an Attache, Scalzo‘s main function is to observe, analyze
1 October 2003, and the Loan Agreement would reveal the desire of CNMEG to and interpret trends and developments in their respective fields in the host country
construct the Luzon Railways in pursuit of a purely commercial activity performed in and submit reports to their own ministries or departments in the home government.
the ordinary course of its business He is not generally regarded as a member of the diplomatic mission. On the basis of
an erroneous assumption that simply because of the diplomatic note, divesting the
trial court of jurisdiction over his person, his diplomatic immunity is contentious.
KHOSROW MINUCHER, petitioner, vs. HON. COURT OF APPEALS and Under the related doctrine of State Immunity from Suit, the precept that a State
ARTHUR SCALZO, respondents cannot be sued in the courts of a foreign state is a long-standing rule of customary
international law. If the acts giving rise to a suit are those of a foreign government
FACTS: Khosrow Minucher, an Iranian national and a Labor Attaché for the Iranian
done by its foreign agent, although not necessarily a diplomatic personage, but
Embassies in Tokyo, Japan and Manila came to the country to study in 1974 and
acting in his official capacity, the complaint could be barred by the immunity of the
continued to stay as head of the Iranian National Resistance Movement.
foreign sovereign from suit without its consent. Suing a representative of a state is
In May 1986, Minucher was charged with an Information for violation of Republic Act believed to be, in effect, suing the state itself. The proscription is not accorded for the
No. 6425, Dangerous Drugs Act of 1972. The criminal charge followed a buy-bust benefit of an individual but for the State, in whose service he is, under the maxim par
operation conducted by the Philippine police narcotic agents in his house where a in parem, non habet imperium that all states are sovereign equals and cannot assert
jurisdiction over one another. The implication is that if the judgment against an official (NPDC). However, this verbal contract accommodation was unclear because there
would require the state itself to perform an affirmative act to satisfy the award, such was no document or instrument involved.
as the appropriation of the amount needed to pay the damages decreed against him,
the suit must be regarded as being against the state itself, although it has not been With the change of government, the new Chairman of NPDC, petitioner Amado J.
formally impleaded. Lansang, sought to clean up Rizal Park and terminated the said verbal agreement
with GABI and demanded that they vacate the area.
A foreign agent, operating within a territory, can be cloaked with immunity from suit
but only as long as it can be established that he is acting within the directives of the The notice was signed by the president of GABI, private respondent Jose Iglesias,
sending state. The consent of the host state is an indispensable requirement of basic allegedly to indicate his conformity to its contents but later on claimed that he was
courtesy between the two sovereigns. deceived into signing the notice.

The buy-bust operation and other such acts are indication that the Philippine On the day of the supposed eviction, GABI filed an action for damages and injunction
government has given its imprimatur, if not consent, to the activities within Philippine in the RTC against the petitioner but it was dismissed, ruling that the complaint was
territory of agent Scalzo of the United States Drug Enforcement Agency. In actually directed against the state which could not be sued without its consent.
conducting surveillance activities on Minucher, later acting as the poseur-buyer On appeal, the Court of Appeals reversed the decision of the trial court and ruled that
during the buy-bust operation, and then becoming a principal witness in the criminal a government official being sued in his official capacity is not enough to protest such
case against Minucher, Scalzo hardly can be said to have acted beyond the scope of official from liability for acts done without or in excess of his authority.
his official function or duties.
Issues:

Whether or not private respondents' complaint against petitioner Lansang, as


Lansang vs. Court of Appeals (Consti1) Chairman of NPDC, is in effect a suit against the state which cannot be sued without
Amado J. Lansang, petitioner, vs. Court of Appeals, General Assembly of the its consent.
Blind, Inc., and Jose Iglesias, respondents. February 23, 2000 Whether or not petitioner Lansang abused his authority in ordering the ejectment of
private respondents from Rizal Park.

Quisumbing, J: Held:

Facts: No, the complaint is not a suit against the state.

Private respondent General Assembly of the Blind (GABI) were allegedly awarded a No, Lansang did not abuse his authority.
verbal contract of lease in Rizal Park by the National Parks Development Committee Ratio:
The doctrine of state immunity from suit applies to complaints filed against public By reason of her non-selection, she filed a complaint for damages and an equal
officials for acts done in the performance of their duties. The rule is that the suit must employment opportunity complaint against private respondents, Don Detwiler
be regarded as one against the state where satisfaction of the judgment against the (civillian personnel officer) and Anthony Persi (Education Director), for alleged
public official concerned will require the state itself to perform a positive act. discrimination by reason of her nationality and sex.

Lansang was sued not in his capacity as NPDC Chairman but in his personal Shauf was offered a temporary position as a temporary Assistant Education Adviser
capacity. It is evident from the complaint that Lansang was sued allegedly for having for a 180-day period with the condition that if a vacancy occurs, she will be
personal motives in ordering the ejectment of GABI from Rizal Park. automatically selected to fill the vacancy. But if no vacancy occurs after 180 days,
she will be released but will be selected to fill a future vacancy if she’s available.
There was no evidence of abuse of authority. Shauf accepted the offer. During that time, Mrs. Mary Abalateo’s was about to vacate
her position. But Mrs. Abalateo’s appointment was extended thus, Shauf was never
Shauf v. CA
appointed to said position. She claims that the Abalateo’s stay was extended
Loida Q. Shauf & Jacob Shauf, petitioners v. Hon. CA, Don E. Detwiler & indefinitely to deny her the appointment as retaliation for the complaint that she filed
Anthony Persi, respondents against Persi. Persi denies this allegation. He claims it was a joint decision of the
management & it was in accordance of with the applicable regulation.

Shauf filed for damages and other relief in different venues such as the Civil Service
Second Division Commission, Appeals Review Board, Philippine Regional Trial Court, etc.
Doctrine: official v. personal capacity RTC ruled in favor of Shauf ordering defendants to pay $39,662.49 as actual
damages + 20% of such amount as attorney’s fees + P100k as moral & exemplary
Keywords: void for overbreadth
damages.
Date: November 27, 1990
Both parties appealed to the CA. Shauf prayed for the increase of the damages to be
Ponente: Justice Regalado collected from defendants. Defendants on the other hand, continued using the
defense that they are immune from suit for acts done/statements made by them in
performance of their official governmental functions pursuant to RP-US Military
Bases Agreement of 1947. They claim that the Philippines does not have jurisdiction
Facts:
over the case because it was under the exclusive jurisdiction of a US District Court.
Loida Shauf, a Filipino by origin and married to an American who is a member of the They likewise claim that petitioner failed to exhaust all administrative remedies thus
US Air Force, was rejected for a position of Guidance Counselor in the Base case should be dismissed. CA reversed RTC decision. According to the CA,
Education Office at Clark Air Base, for which she is eminently qualified. defendants are immune from suit.
Shauf claims that the respondents are being sued in their private capacity thus this is officers are not acts of the State, and an action against the officials or officers by one
not a suit against the US government which would require consent. 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.
Respondents still maintain their immunity from suit. They further claim that the rule In the same tenor, it has been said that an action at law or suit in equity against a
allowing suits against public officers & employees for criminal & unauthorized acts is State officer or the director of a State department on the ground that, while claiming
applicable only in the Philippines & is not part of international law. 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
Hence this petition for review on certiorari.
does not have, is not a suit against the State within the constitutional provision that
Issue: WON private respondents are immune from suit being officers of the US the State may not be sued without its consent."The rationale for this ruling is that the
Armed Forces doctrine of state immunity cannot be used as an instrument for perpetrating an
injustice
Held: No they are not immune.

WHEREFORE, the challenged decision and resolution of respondent Court of


Appeals in CA-G.R. CV No. 17932 are hereby ANNULLED and SET ASIDE. Private In the case at bar, there is nothing in the record which suggests any arbitrary,
respondents are hereby ORDERED, jointly and severally, to pay petitioners the sum irregular or abusive conduct or motive on the part of the trial judge in ruling that
of P100,000.00 as moral damages, P20,000.00 as and for attorney's fees, and the private respondents committed acts of discrimination for which they should be held
costs of suit. personally liable.

Ratio: There is ample evidence to sustain plaintiffs' complaint that plaintiff Loida Q. Shauf
was refused appointment as Guidance Counselor by the defendants on account of
They state that the doctrine of immunity from suit will not apply and may not be her sex, color and origin.
invoked where the public official is being sued in his private and personal capacity as
an ordinary citizen. The cloak of protection afforded the officers and agents of the She received a Master of Arts Degree from the University of Santo Tomas, Manila, in
government is removed the moment they are sued in their individual capacity. This 1971 and has completed 34 semester hours in psychology?guidance and 25 quarter
situation usually arises where the public official acts without authority or in excess of hours in human behavioral science. She has also completed all course work in
the powers vested in him. human behavior and counselling psychology for a doctoral degree. She is a civil
service eligible. More important, she had functioned as a Guidance Counselor at the
It is a well-settled principle of law that a public official may be liable in his personal Clark Air Base at the GS-1710-9 level for approximately four years at the time she
private capacity for whatever damage he may have caused by his act done with applied for the same position in 1976.
malice and in bad faith, or beyond the scope of his authority or jurisdiction

Director of the Bureau of Telecommunications vs. Aligaen Inasmuch as the State


authorizes only legal acts by its officers, unauthorized acts of government officials or
In filling the vacant position of Guidance Counselor, defendant Persi did not even TOPIC: Writ of kalikasan, UNCLOS, Immunity from suit
consider the application of plaintiff Loida Q. Shauf, but referred the vacancy to
CORRO which appointed Edward B. Isakson who was not eligible to the position. FACTS:

Article XIII, Section 3, of the 1987 Constitution provides that the State shall afford full The USS Guardian is an Avenger-class mine countermeasures ship of the
protection to labor, local and overseas, organized and unorganized, and promote full US Navy. In December 2012, the US Embassy in the Philippines requested
employment and equality of employment opportunities for all. This is a carry-over diplomatic clearance for the said vessel “to enter and exit the territorial waters of the
from Article II, Section 9, of the 1973 Constitution ensuring equal work opportunities Philippines and to arrive at the port of Subic Bay for the purpose of routine ship
regardless of sex, race, or creed.. replenishment, maintenance, and crew liberty.” On January 6, 2013, the ship left
Sasebo, Japan for Subic Bay, arriving on January 13, 2013 after a brief stop for fuel
There is no doubt that private respondents Persi and Detwiler, in committing the acts in Okinawa, Japan.
complained of have, in effect, violated the basic constitutional right of petitioner Loida
Q. Shauf to earn a living which is very much an integral aspect of the right to life. For On January 15, 2013, the USS Guardian departed Subic Bay for its next
this, they should be held accountable port of call in Makassar, Indonesia. On January 17, 2013 at 2:20 a.m. while transiting
the Sulu Sea, the ship ran aground on the northwest side of South Shoal of the
Respondents alleged that petitioner Loida Q. Shauf failed to avail herself of her Tubbataha Reefs, about 80 miles east-southeast of Palawan. No one was injured in
remedy under the United States federal legislation on equality of opportunity for the incident, and there have been no reports of leaking fuel or oil.
civilian employees, which is allegedly exclusive of any other remedy under American
law, let alone remedies before a foreign court and under a foreign law such as the Petitioners claim that the grounding, salvaging and post-salvaging
Civil Code of the Philippines. operations of the USS Guardian cause and continue to cause environmental damage
of such magnitude as to affect the provinces of Palawan, Antique, Aklan, Guimaras,
SC: Petitioner Loida Q. Shauf is not limited to these remedies, but is entitled as a Iloilo, Negros Occidental, Negros Oriental, Zamboanga del Norte, Basilan, Sulu, and
matter of plain and simple justice to choose that remedy, not otherwise proscribed, Tawi-Tawi, which events violate their constitutional rights to a balanced and healthful
which will best advance and protect her interests. There is, thus, nothing to enjoin ecology.
her from seeking redress in Philippine courts which should not be ousted of
jurisdiction on the dubious and inconclusive representations of private respondents ISSUES:
on that score. Whether or not petitioners have legal standing.
MOST REV. PEDRO ARIGO, et. al., Petitioners,vs.SCOTT H. SWIFT, et. al., Whether or not US respondents may be held liable for damages caused by USS
Respondents.
Guardian.
G.R. No. 206510 September 16, 2014
Whether or not the waiver of immunity from suit under VFA applies in this case.
PONENTE: Villarama
HELD:
First issue: YES. Petitioners have legal standing suit is deemed to be one against the US itself. The principle of State immunity
therefore bars the exercise of jurisdiction by this Court over the persons of
Locus standi is “a right of appearance in a court of justice on a given respondents Swift, Rice and Robling.
question.” Specifically, it is “a party’s personal and substantial interest in a case
where he has sustained or will sustain direct injury as a result” of the act being During the deliberations, Senior Associate Justice Antonio T. Carpio took
challenged, and “calls for more than just a generalized grievance.” However, the rule the position that the conduct of the US in this case, when its warship entered a
on standing is a procedural matter which this Court has relaxed for non-traditional restricted area in violation of R.A. No. 10067 and caused damage to the TRNP reef
plaintiffs like ordinary citizens, taxpayers and legislators when the public interest so system, brings the matter within the ambit of Article 31 of the United Nations
requires, such as when the subject matter of the controversy is of transcendental Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS). He explained that while historically,
importance, of overreaching significance to society, or of paramount public interest. warships enjoy sovereign immunity from suit as extensions of their flag State, Art. 31
of the UNCLOS creates an exception to this rule in cases where they fail to comply
In the landmark case of Oposa v. Factoran, Jr., we recognized the “public with the rules and regulations of the coastal State regarding passage through the
right” of citizens to “a balanced and healthful ecology which, for the first time in our latter’s internal waters and the territorial sea.
constitutional history, is solemnly incorporated in the fundamental law.” We declared
that the right to a balanced and healthful ecology need not be written in the In the case of warships, as pointed out by Justice Carpio, they continue to
Constitution for it is assumed, like other civil and polittcal rights guaranteed in the Bill enjoy sovereign immunity subject to the following exceptions:
of Rights, to exist from the inception of mankind and it is an issue of transcendental
importance with intergenerational implications. Such right carries with it the Article 30: Non-compliance by warships with the laws and regulations of the coastal
correlative duty to refrain from impairing the environment. State

On the novel element in the class suit filed by the petitioners minors in If any warship does not comply with the laws and regulations of the coastal State
Oposa, this Court ruled that not only do ordinary citizens have legal standing to sue concerning passage through the territorial sea and disregards any request for
for the enforcement of environmental rights, they can do so in representation of their compliance therewith which is made to it, the coastal State may require it to leave
own and future generations. the territorial sea immediately.

Second issue: YES. Article 31: Responsibility of the flag State for damage caused by a warship or other
government ship operated for non-commercial purposes
The US respondents were sued in their official capacity as commanding
officers of the US Navy who had control and supervision over the USS Guardian and The flag State shall bear international responsibility for any loss or damage to the
its crew. The alleged act or omission resulting in the unfortunate grounding of the coastal State resulting from the non-compliance by a warship or other government
USS Guardian on the TRNP was committed while they were performing official ship operated for non-commercial purposes with the laws and regulations of the
military duties. Considering that the satisfaction of a judgment against said officials coastal State concerning passage through the territorial sea or with the provisions of
will require remedial actions and appropriation of funds by the US government, the this Convention or other rules of international law.
Article 32: Immunities of warships and other government ships operated for non- all nations to cooperate in the global task to protect and preserve the marine
commercial purposes environment as provided in Article 197 of UNCLOS

With such exceptions as are contained in subsection A and in articles 30 Article 197: Cooperation on a global or regional basis
and 31, nothing in this Convention affects the immunities of warships and other
government ships operated for non-commercial purposes. A foreign warship’s States shall cooperate on a global basis and, as appropriate, on a regional basis,
unauthorized entry into our internal waters with resulting damage to marine directly or through competent international organizations, in formulating and
resources is one situation in which the above provisions may apply. elaborating international rules, standards and recommended practices and
procedures consistent with this Convention, for the protection and preservation of the
But what if the offending warship is a non-party to the UNCLOS, as in this case, the marine environment, taking into account characteristic regional features.
US?
In fine, the relevance of UNCLOS provisions to the present controversy is beyond
According to Justice Carpio, although the US to date has not ratified the UNCLOS, dispute. Although the said treaty upholds the immunity of warships from the
as a matter of long-standing policy the US considers itself bound by customary jurisdiction of Coastal States while navigating the latter’s territorial sea, the flag
international rules on the “traditional uses of the oceans” as codified in UNCLOS. States shall be required to leave the territorial sea immediately if they flout the laws
and regulations of the Coastal State, and they will be liable for damages caused by
Moreover, Justice Carpio emphasizes that “the US refusal to join the UNCLOS was their warships or any other government vessel operated for non-commercial
centered on its disagreement with UNCLOS” regime of deep seabed mining (Part XI) purposes under Article 31.
which considers the oceans and deep seabed commonly owned by mankind,”
pointing out that such “has nothing to do with its the US’ acceptance of customary Third issue: NO.
international rules on navigation.”
The waiver of State immunity under the VF A pertains only to criminal
The Court also fully concurred with Justice Carpio’s view that non-membership in the jurisdiction and not to special civil actions such as the present petition for issuance of
UNCLOS does not mean that the US will disregard the rights of the Philippines as a a writ of Kalikasan. In fact, it can be inferred from Section 17, Rule 7 of the Rules
Coastal State over its internal waters and territorial sea. We thus expect the US to that a criminal case against a person charged with a violation of an environmental
bear “international responsibility” under Art. 31 in connection with the USS Guardian law is to be filed separately.
grounding which adversely affected the Tubbataha reefs. Indeed, it is difficult to
imagine that our long-time ally and trading partner, which has been actively The Court considered a view that a ruling on the application or non-
supporting the country’s efforts to preserve our vital marine resources, would shirk application of criminal jurisdiction provisions of the VFA to US personnel who may be
from its obligation to compensate the damage caused by its warship while transiting found responsible for the grounding of the USS Guardian, would be premature and
our internal waters. Much less can we comprehend a Government exercising beyond the province of a petition for a writ of Kalikasan.
leadership in international affairs, unwilling to comply with the UNCLOS directive for The Court also found unnecessary at this point to determine whether such
waiver of State immunity is indeed absolute. In the same vein, we cannot grant
damages which have resulted from the violation of environmental laws. The Rules temporary restraining order with the Regional Trial praying, inter alia, that the trial
allows the recovery of damages, including the collection of administrative fines under court ―nullify the award of the Penicillin G Benzathine contract to YSS Laboratories,
R.A. No. 10067, in a separate civil suit or that deemed instituted with the criminal Inc. and direct petitioners DOH et al. to declare Pharmawealth as the lowest
action charging the same violation of an environmental law. complying responsible bidder for the Benzathine contract, and that they accordingly
award the same to plaintiff company‖ and ―adjudge defendants Romualdez, Galon
DOH vs PHIL. PHARMAWEALTH INC. Case Digest and Lopez liable, jointly and severally to plaintiff. Petitioners DOH et al. subsequently
filed a motion to dismiss praying for the dismissal of the complaint based on the
THE DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH et al. v. PHIL. PHARMAWEALTH, INC.
doctrine of state immunity. The trial court, however, denied the motion to dismiss.
518 SCRA 240 (2007), SECOND DIVISION (Carpio Morales, J.) The Court of Appeals (CA) denied DOH‘s petition for review which affirmed the order
issued Regional Trial Court of Pasig City denying petitioners‘ motion to dismiss the
Defense of state immunity does not apply where the public official is charged in his case.
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 ISSUE: Whether or not the charge against the public officers acting in their official
official capacity but in his personal capacity, although the acts complained of may capacity will prosper
have been committed while he occupied a public position.
HELD: The suability of a government official depends on whether the official
FACTS: Secretary of Health Alberto G. Romualdez, Jr. issued an Administrative concerned was acting within his official or jurisdictional capacity, and whether the
Order providing for additional guidelines for accreditation of drug suppliers aimed at acts done in the performance of official functions will result in a charge or financial
ensuring that only qualified bidders can transact business with petitioner Department liability against the government. In its complaint, DOH sufficiently imputes grave
of Health (DOH). Respondent Phil. Pharmawealth, Inc. (Pharmawealth) submitted to abuse of discretion against petitioners in their official capacity. Since judicial review
DOH a request for the inclusion of additional items in its list of accredited drug of acts alleged to have been tainted with grave abuse of discretion is guaranteed by
products, including the antibiotic ―Penicillin G Benzathine. the Constitution, it necessarily follows that it is the official concerned who should be
impleaded as defendant or respondent in an appropriate suit.
Petitioner DOH issued an Invitation for Bids for the procurement of 1.2 million
units vials of Penicillin G Benzathine. Despite the lack of response from DOH As regards petitioner DOH, the defense of immunity from suit will not avail
regarding Pharmawealth‘s request for inclusion of additional items in its list of despite its being an unincorporated agency of the government, for the only causes of
accredited products, the latter submitted its bid for the Penicillin G Benzathine action directed against it are preliminary injunction and mandamus. Under Section 1,
contract and gave the lowest bid thereof. . In view, however, of the non-accreditation Rule 58 of the Rules of Court, preliminary injunction may be directed against a party
of respondent‘s Penicillin G Benzathine product, the contract was awarded to or a court, agency or a person. Moreover, the defense of state immunity from suit
Cathay/YSS Laboratories‘ (YSS). does not apply in causes of action which do not seek to impose a charge or financial
liability against the State.
Respondent Pharmawealth filed a complaint for injunction, mandamus and
damages with prayer for the issuance of a writ of preliminary injunction and/or
Hence, the rule does not apply where the public official is charged in his The State-s immunity from suit does not extend to the petitioner ATO
official capacity for acts that are unauthorized or unlawful and injurious to the rights because it is an agency of the State engaged in an enterprise that is far from being
of others. Neither does it apply where the public official is clearly being sued not in the State-s exclusive prerogative. The CA thereby correctly appreciated the juridical
his official capacity but in his personal capacity, although the acts complained of may character of the ATO as an agency of the government not performing a purely
have been committed while he occupied a public position. governmental or sovereign function but was instead involved in the management and
maintenance of the Loakan Airport an activity that was not the exclusive prerogative
In the present case, suing individual petitioners in their personal capacities for of the State in its sovereign capacity. Hence, ATO had no claim to the State-s
damages in connection with their alleged act of ―illegally abusing their official immunity from suit. The SC, further observes that the doctrine of sovereign immunity
positions to make sure that plaintiff Pharmawealth would not be awarded the cannot be successfully invoked to defeat a valid claim for compensation arising from
Benzathine contract [which act was] done in bad faith and with full knowledge of the the taking without just compensation and without the proper expropriation
limits and breadth of their powers given by law‖ is permissible, in consonance with proceedings being first resorted to of the plaintiff-s property. Lastly the issue of
the foregoing principles. For an officer who exceeds the power conferred on him by whether or not the ATO could be sued without the States consent has been rendered
law cannot hide behind the plea of sovereign immunity and must bear the liability moot by the passage of Republic Act 9497 otherwise known as the ,Civil Aviation
personally Authority Act of 2008. R.A. No. 9497 abolished the ATO and under its transitory
provisions R.A. 9497 established in place of the ATO the , Civil Aviation Authority of
Air transportation office v. David , GR No. 159402, Feb. 23, 2011
the Philippines (,CAAP) which thereby assumed all of the ATO’s powers duties and
Facts: rights assets real and personal properties funds and revenues. Section 34 of R.A.
9497 enumerates the corporate powers vested in the CAAP including the power to
Sps. Ramos discovered that a portion of their land (somewhere in Baguio) was being sue and be sued to enter into contracts of every class kind and description to
used as part of the runway and running shoulder of the Loakan Airport which is construct acquire, own hold operate maintain administer and lease personal and
operated by ATO Sometime in 1995 respondents agreed to convey the subject real properties and to settle under such terms and conditions most advantageous to
portion by deed of sale to ATO in consideration of the amountof P 778,150.00. it any claim by or against it. With the CAAP having legally succeeded the ATO
however ATO failed to pay despite repeated verbal and written demands. Thus an pursuant to R.A. 9497 the obligations that the ATO had incurred by virtue of the deed
action for collection against ATO was filed by the respondents before the RTC. ATO of sale with the Ramos spouses might now be enforced against the CAAP.
primary contention was that the deed of sale was entered into the performance of
governmental functions. RTC, ruled in favor of the respondents. ,CA affirmed RTC
hence the petition.

Issue:Whether ATO could be sued without the State-s consent

Held: Sc, dismissed the petition for lack of merit