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STATE IMMUNITY

1. A government agency, such as the DECS can be sued without its permission
as a Result of its being privy to the Deed of Donations over a disputed
property. !hen it voluntarily gave its consent to the donation, any dispute
that may arise from it would necessarily bring petitioner DECS down to the
level of an ordinary citi"en of the State vulnerable to a suit by an interested or
affected party. #t has shed off its mantle of immunity and relin$uished and
forfeited its armor of non%suability of the State.& 'urther the Republic of the
(hilippines need not be impleaded as a party%defendant where it impliedly
gave its approval to the involvement of petitioner DECS in the Deed of
Donation. #n a situation involving a contract between a government
department and a third party, the Republic of the (hilippines need not be
impleaded as a party to suit resulting from said contract as it is assumed that
the authority granted to such department to enter into such contract carried
with it the full responsibility and authority to sue and be sued in its name.&
)Department of Education, Division of Albay vs. Onate, G.R. No. 1615!,
"une !, #$$*.
+. ,ere the (C-- $uestions the authority of the Sandiganbayan to entertain a
suit filed by .fficeco ,oldings, /.0. ).fficeco* against (C-- to have the
free"e order against the former lifted. Earlier, pursuant to the re$uest made by
(C-- to the Swiss authorities for assistance in regard to the ill%gotten wealth
cases against the 1arcoses and other accused, the accounts of .fficeco were
fro"en. 2he Swiss 'ederal Court thereafter denied .fficeco3s plea for the
unfree"ing of its accounts. .fficeco then sought relief through the (C--, and
unable to get a favorable response .fficeco went to the Sandiganbayan
praying for the (C-- to officially advise the Swiss government to e4clude
from the free"e or se$uestration order the account of .fficeco. (C-- sought
the dismissal of the case invo5ing, inter alia, lac5 of 6urisdiction on account of
the act of state doctrine& i.e., since the Swiss authorities refused to grant the
relief, then the (hilippine courts should 6ust respect such determination. 2he
Court, disagreeing with the (C--, e4plained that the classic American
statement of the act of state doctrine, which appears to have ta5en root in
England as early as 1789, and began to emerge in American 6urisprudence in
the late 1:
th
and early 1;
th
centuries, is found in <nderhill vs. ,ernande",
=>&Every sovereign state is bound to respect the independence of every other
state, and the courts of one country will not sit in 6udgments on the acts of the
government of another, done within its territory. Redress of grievances by
reason of such acts must be obtained through the means open to be availed of
by the Sovereign powers as between themselves.& 2he act of the State
doctrine is one of the methods by which States prevent their national courts
from deciding disputes which relate to the internal affairs of another State, the
other two being immunity and non%6usticiability. #t is an avoidance techni$ue
that is directly related to a State3s obligation to respect the independence and
e$uality of other States by not re$uiring them to submit to ad6udication in a
national court or to settlement of their disputes without their consent. #t
re$uires the forum court to e4ercise restraint in the ad6udication of disputes
relating to legislative or other governmental acts which a foreign State has
performed within its territorial limits.So why can it not be properly invoked
here? 2he parameters of the use of the act of state doctrine were clarified in
%anco Nacional de &uba vs. 'abbatino. 2here, the <.S. Supreme Court held
that international law does not re$uire the application of this doctrine nor does
it forbid the application of the rule even if it is claimed that the act of state in
$uestion violated international law. 1oreover, due to the doctrine3s peculiar
nation%to%nation character, in practice the usual method for an individual to
see5 relief is to e4haust local remedies and then repair to the e4ecutive
authorities of his own state to persuade them to champion in diplomacy or
before an international tribunal.3 'urthermore, even assuming that
international law re$uires the application of the act of the State doctrine, it
bears stressing that the Sandiganbayan will not e4amine and review the free"e
orders of the concerned Swiss officials= 2he Sandiganbayan will not re$uire
the Swiss .fficials to submit to its ad6udication nor will it settle a dispute
involving said officials. #n fact, as prayed for in the complaint, the
Sandiganbayan will only review and e4amine the propriety of maintaining
(C--3s position with respect .fficeco3s accounts with ?2A- for the
purpose of further determining the propriety of issuing a writ against the
(C-- and the .S-. Everything considered, the act of state doctrine finds no
application in this case and petitioner3s resort to it is utterly mislaid.&
)(residential &ommission on Good Government vs. 'andi)anbayan, G.R. No.
1#*#, Au)ust 1*, #$$+.
@. .f product of accreditations, bids and issues of suability and liability. #n this
case (harmawealth re$uested for inclusion of its antibiotic product (enicillin
-. ?en"athine& as among the accredited drugs that may be procured by the
D., but the same was unacted upon until the time for bidding came.
(harmawealth 6ust the same submitted its bid, which was lower than that of its
competitor. /evertheless, the contract was awarded to the latter since
(harmawealth3s product was not accredited. (harmawealth then filed a
petition for in6unction, mandamus, and damages before the R2C. A motion to
dismiss was filed, invo5ing among others the defense of state immunity. #s it
tenableA 2he suability of a government official depends on whether the
official concerned was acting within his official or 6urisdictional capacity, and
whether the acts done in the performance of official functions will result in a
charge or financial liability against the government. #n the first case, the
Constitution itself assures the availability of 6udicial review, and it is the
official concerned who should be impleaded as the proper party. #n its
complaint, respondent sufficiently imputes grave abuse of discretion against
petitioners in their official capacity. Since 6udicial review of acts alleged to
have been tainted with grave abuse of discretion is guaranteed by the
Constitution, it necessarily follows that it is the official concerned who should
be impleaded as defendant or respondent in an appropriate suit.& #n this
regard, too, the defense of state immunity from suit dos not apply in causes
of action which do no see5 to impose a charge or financial liability against the
State.& 'urther, !hile the doctrine of immunity appears to prohibit only suits
against the state without its consent, it is also applicable to complaints filed
against officials of the state for acts allegedly performed by them in the
discharge of their duties. 2he suit is regarded s one against the state where
satisfaction of 6udgment against the officials will re$uire the state itself to
perform a positive act, such as the appropriation of the amount necessary to
pay the damages awarded against them.& Accordingly, suing individual
petitioners in their personal capacities for damages in connection with their
alleged act of illegally abusing their official positions to ma5e sure that a
bidder would not be awarded the contract, which act was done in bad faith and
with full 5nowledge of the limits and breadth of their powers given by law is
permissible. An officer who e4ceeds the power conferred on him by law
cannot hide behind the plea of sovereign immunity and must bear the liability
personally. /evertheless, the foregoing statements in no way reflect a ruling
on the actual liability of petitioners to respondent. 2he mere allegation that a
government official is being sued in his personal capacity does not
automatically remove the same from the protection of the doctrine of state
immunity. /either, upon the other hand, does the mere invocation of official
character suffice to insulate such official from suability and liability for an act
committed without or in e4cess of his or her authority. 2hese matters of
evidence which should be presented and proven at the trial.& )Department of
,ealt- vs. (-il. (-arma.ealt-, /nc., 51! '&RA #*$ 0#$$*.