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REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES, petitioner-appellee,

G.R. No. 70853 March 12, 1987
In this case Respondent filed a complaint with the Court of First Instance against the
Republic of the Philippines, represented by the Land Authority, for the recovery of
ownership and possession of a parcel of land. The trial court declared Lot No. 1 to
be the private property of Feliciano and the rest of the property reverted to the
public domain. The case was reopened due to the filing of a motion to intervene and
to set aside the decision of the trial court by 86 settlers who alleged that they had
been in possession of the land for more than 20 years.
The settlers however did not present their evidence nor did they appear in on the
date scheduled by the court while Feliciano presented additional evidence.
Thereafter, the case was submitted for decision and the trial court ruled in favor of

The settlers immediately filed a motion for reconsideration and then the case was
reopened to allow them to present their evidence. Feliciano filed a petition for
certiorari with the Appellate Court but it was denied. The settler then filed a motion
to dismiss on the ground that the state cannot be sued without its consent and
hence the action cannot prosper.

Whether or not the state can be sued sued for recovery and possession of a
parcel of land.

The court ordered to dismiss the complaint filed by respondent Pablo Feliciano
against the Republic of the Philippines.
The doctrine of non-suability of the State has proper application in this case. A suit
for the recovery of property is not an action in rem, but an action in personam.1 It is
an action directed against a specific party or parties, and any judgment therein
binds only such party or parties. The complaint filed by plaintiff, the private

respondent herein, is directed against the Republic of the Philippines, represented

by the Land Authority, a governmental agency created by Republic Act No. 3844.
By its caption and its allegation and prayer, the complaint is clearly a suit against
the State, which under settled jurisprudence is not permitted, except upon a
showing that the State has consented to be sued, either expressly or by implication
through the use of statutory language too plain to be misinterpreted. 2 There is no
such showing in the instant case. Worse, the complaint itself fails to allege the
existence of such consent. This is a fatal defect, 3and on this basis alone, the
complaint should have been dismissed.