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281 November 26, 1952
Facts: An undivided parcel of land situated in the Municipality of Las Piñas, Province of Rizal with an area of
21,577 square meters was owned by the petitioners and the respondent in the proportion of 1/7 undivided share for Teodora Santos and 1/14 undivided share each for Josefina Santos and Emiliana Santos and 5/7 undivided share for Leoncio Santos. Petitioners complained that from 1945 to 1949 Leoncio Santos collected from the Army of the United States of America rentals for the use and occupation of a parcel of land and later sold the lot the Administrator of the Civil Aeronautics Administration on or about 13 May 1949. Petitioners demand for the accounting of the payments for the rentals of the lot and to give to the portion of the fruits of the rentals according to their portion of the said lot. They also prayed to restore to their ownership the portions of the said land that belongs to them contending that the said contract of sale is null and void because it is performed without their consent and to pay the petitioners for damages and cost. The Administrator of the Civil Aeronautics Administration moved to dismiss the complaint for lack of jurisdiction and insufficiency of the complaint against him. This motion was granted on the ground that the Civil Aeronautics Administration not being a juridical person has no capacity to sue and be sued and for that reason it cannot come under the jurisdiction of the court. Issue: whether or not the petitioners can sue the Civil Aeronautics Administration who is not a juridical entity. Held: An obligation or liability of the state created by statute is enforceable against the officer or agent charged with the duty to execute the law. If there should be anything demandable which had been paid or delivered to or collected by officers or agents of the state without the authority of law, the action would not be against the state but against the responsible officers or agents who received what was not due the state or made the unauthorized collection. Punishable acts or omissions committed by officers or agents of the state are crimes and violations of law perpetuated by such officers or agents and not by the state. The same postulate may be applied to torts committed by officers or agents of the state. Nevertheless, if, where and when the state or its government enters into a contract, through its officers or agents, in furtherance of a legitimate aim and purpose and pursuant to constitutional legislative authority, whereby mutual or reciprocal benefits accrue and rights and obligations arise therefrom, and if the law granting the authority to enter into such contract does not provide for or name the officer against whom action may be brought in the event of a breach thereof, the state itself may be sued even without its consent, because by entering into a contract the sovereign state has descended to the level of the citizen and its consent to be used is implied from the very act of entering into such contract. If the dignity of the state, the sacredness of the institution, the respect for the government are to be preserved and the dragging of its name in a suit to be prevented, the legislative department should name the officer or agent against whom the action may be brought in the event of breach of the contract entered into under its name and authority. And the omission or failure of the legislative department to do so is no obstacle or impediment for an individual or citizen, who is aggrieved by the breach of the contract, to bring an action against the state itself for the reasons already adverted to, to wit; the descent of the sovereign state to the level of the individual or citizen with whom it entered into a contract and its consent to be sued implied from the act of entering into such contract. The Civil Aeronautics Administration, even if it is not a juridical entity, cannot legally prevent a party or parties from enforcing their propriety rights under the cloak or shield of lack of juridical personality, because it took over all the powers and assumed all the obligations of the defunct corporation which had entered into the contract in question. In National Airports Corporation vs. Teodoro *, G.R. No. L-5122, 30 April 1952, we held that the Civil Aeronautics Administration may be sued and that the principle of state immunity from suit does not apply to it. The order appealed from dismissing the complaint as to the Civil Aeronautics Administration is reversed and the case remanded to the lower court for further proceedings in accordance with law. No cost shall be taxed.
Aytona v. Castillo 43 SCRA 1 January 19, 1962
Facts: On December 29, 1961, then President Carlos P. Garcia appointed Dominador R. Aytona as ad interim Governor of the Central Bank. On the same day, the latter took the corresponding oath. On December 30, 1961, President-elect Diosdado Macapagal assumed office. The following day, he issued Administrative Order No. 2 recalling, withdrawing, and cancelling all ad interim appointment made by President Garcia after December 13, 1961, the date when he was proclaimed by the Congress as President. On January 1, 1962, President Macapagal appointed Andres V. Castillo as ad interim Governor of the Central Bank, and the latter qualified immediately. The records shows that outgoing President Carlos P. Garcia, all in all, appointed 350 “midnight” or “last minute” appointments on December 29, 1961,which includes Dominador R. Aytona as ad interim Governor of the Central Bank. On January 2, 1962, both appointed exercised the powers of their office, although Castillo informed Aytona of his title thereto; and some unpleasantness developed in the premises of the Central Bank. However, the next day and thereafter, Aytona was definitely prevented from holding office in the Central Bank. Petitioner instituted a proceeding which is practically, a quo warranto, challenging Castillo's right to exercise the powers of Governor of the Central Bank. Aytona claims he was validly appointed, had qualified for the post, and therefore, the subsequent appointment and qualification of Castillo was void, because the position was then occupied by him. Castillo replies that the appointment of Aytona had been revoked by Administrative Order No. 2 of Macapagal; and so, the real issue is whether the new President had power to issue the order of cancellation of the ad interim appointments made by the past President, even after the appointees had already qualified. Issue: Can the new President issue the order of cancellation of the ad interim appointments made by the past President, even after the appointees had already qualified. Held: Normally, when the President makes appointments the consent of the Commission on Appointments, he has benefit of their advice. When he makes ad interim appointments, he exercises a special prerogative and is bound to be prudent to insure approval of his selection either previous consultation with the members of the Commission or by thereafter explaining to them the reason such selection. Where, however, as in this case, the Commission on Appointments that will consider the appointees is different from that existing at the time of the appointment 2 and where the names are to be submitted by successor, who may not wholly approve of the selections, the President should be doubly careful in extending such appointments. Now, it is hard to believe that in signing 350 appointments in one night, President Garcia exercised such "double care" which was required and expected of him; and therefore, there seems to be force to the contention that these appointments fall beyond the intent and spirit of the constitutional provision granting to the Executive authority to issue ad interim appointments. Under the circumstances above described, what with the separation of powers, this Court resolves that it must decline to disregard the Presidential Administrative Order No. 2, cancelling such "midnight" or "last-minute" appointments. Of course, the Court is aware of many precedents to the effect that once an appointment has been issued, it cannot be reconsidered, specially where the appointee has qualified. But none of them refer to mass ad interim appointments (threehundred and fifty), issued in the last hours of an outgoing Chief Executive, in a setting similar to that outlined herein. On the other hand, the authorities admit of exceptional circumstances justifying revocation and if any circumstances justify revocation, those described herein should fit the exception. WHEREFORE, the Court exercising its judgment and discretion in the matter, hereby dismiss the action, without costs.
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