CHAPTER 4 DOCTRINE OF SOVEREIGN IMMUNITY CASE DIGESTS

SANDERS VS. VERIDIANO II Justice Cruz 1998 FACTS: Petitioner:  Sanders – Special Services Director of NAVSTA (Naval Station)  Moreau – Commanding Officer of the Subic Naval Base Respondents:  Rossi and Wyer – American Citizen employed as game room attendants in the special services department of NAVSTA Events:  Private Respondents employment had been converted from permanent full-time to part-time  Respondents filed protest and a recommendation report was made by the hearing officer stipulating the reinstatement of both respondents plus back wages. Report on hearing contained the observation that “Special Services Management practices an autocratic form of supervision.”  Sanders disagreed with recommendation report with the later containing statements that:  Mr. Rossi tends to alienate most co-workers and supervisors  Mr. Rossi and Wyers have proven, according to their immediate supervisors, to be difficult employees to supervise.  Grievants placed the records in public places where other not involved in the case could hear.  Moreau sent a letter to the Chief of Naval Personnel explaining the change of the private respondent’s employment status and requesting concurrence therewith. Filling of Case:  Respondents filed a case in Court of First Instance of Olongapo City a complaint for damages against petitioners; plaintiffs claimed that letters contained libelous imputations.  Petitioners filed a motion to dismiss on grounds that acts complained of were performed by them in their discharge of official duties; consequently, court has no jurisdiction over them under the doctrine of state immunity.

 Petitioner’s motion was denied on ground that petitioners had not presented any evidence that their acts were official in nature and not personal torts.  An order issued a writ of preliminary attachment, conditioned upon the filling of a P10,000 bond on plaintiffs, against properties of Moreau, who allegedly was then about to leave the Philippines.  Moreau was declared in default.  Petitioner’s Motion to lift the default order was dismissed on ground that Moreau’s failure to appear at the pre-trial conference was the result of some understanding.  Motion for reconsideration of the denial motion was also dismissed. ISSUES:  Petition for Certiorari, Prohibition, and Preliminary Injunction was thereafter filed before this court.  W/N petitioners were performing their official duties when they did acts for which they have been sued for damages by the private respondent. RULING:  Petition was granted. Challenged Orders were set aside. Respondent Court is directed to dismiss the case.  Court held that he acts for which the petitioner are being called to account were performed by them in the discharge of their official duties.  Sanders wrote the letter as a reply from Moreau for more information regarding the case of the private respondents. Even without such request, he has the rights in reacting to the hearing officer’s criticism.  Moreau’s letter is clearly official in nature as the Commanding Chief of the Naval Base answerable to the naval personnel in matters involving the special services department of NAVSTA.  Court concludes that petitioners acted behalf of the government, within the scope of their authority making the action a suit against the government without its consent.

CALLADO VS. IRRI Justice Romero 1995 FACTS: Petitioner:  Callado – Employed Driver of IRRI Respondent:  International Rice Research Institute Events:  Callado while driving an IRRI vehicle on an official trip encountered an accident (failure of vehicle to start because of a problem with the car battery)  A month later, he was informed of the preliminary investigation conducted by the IRRI Human Resources Manager, where he was charged with:  Driving under the influence of liquor  Serious misconduct consisting of failure to report to supervisor.  Gross and habitual neglect of duties  After evaluating petitioner’s answer, explanations and other evidence, IRRI issued a Notice of Termination to petitioner on December of that year. Filling of Case:  Petitioner filed complaint before the Labor Arbiter for illegal dismissal, illegal suspension and indemnity pay.  Private Respondent wrote to the Labor Arbiter to inform him that the Institute enjoys immunity from legal process by virtue of Article 3 of Presidential Decree No. 1620 and it invokes such diplomatic immunity.  IRRI also wrote a petition to the Regional Director of DOLE.  Labor Arbiter admitted IRRI’s defense of immunity, nonetheless, cited an Order issued by the Institute to the effect that “in all cases of termination, respondent IRRI waives its immunity.” Accordingly, on the merits of the case, favored judgment to petitioner.  NLRC found merit in private respondent’s appeal, ordered the decision of the Labor Arbiter to set aside and dismiss the complaint. ISSUES:  Petition for Certiorari to review an order of the National Labor Relations Commission

 Did the International Rice Research Institute waive its immunity from suit in this dispute which arose from an employer-employee relationship?

RULING:  Court ruled in the negative and vote to dismiss the petition.  Court finds no merit in petitioner’s arguments, IRRI’s immunity from suit is undisputed according to PD 1620, Article 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 or his authorized representative.  Court noted the letter of the Acting Secretary of Foreign Affairs to the Secretary of Labor where the immunity of IRRI from the jurisdiction of DOLE was sustained. In WHO vs. Hon. Benjamin Aquino, the court stated:  Diplomatic immunity is essentially a political question and courts should refuse to look beyond a determination by the executive branch of the government.  The reason for these immunities is the assurance of unimpeded performance of their functions by the agencies concerned.  An express waiver IRRI’s its Director-General is the only way by which it may relinquish or abandon its immunity.  “May” not “Shall” in the last paragraph of the Memorandum alleged by petitioner that IRRI waived its immunity.  Memorandum cannot considered as express waiver of the Director General

Master your semester with Scribd & The New York Times

Special offer for students: Only $4.99/month.

Master your semester with Scribd & The New York Times

Cancel anytime.