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State Immunity – Part 1

petitioner of Lot 5-A to Tropicana Properties and Development Corporation

G.R. No. 101949 December 1, 1994
SEE, petitioner,
THE HON. ERIBERTO U. ROSARIO, JR., as Presiding Judge of the Regional
Trial Court of Makati, Branch 61 and STARBRIGHT SALES ENTERPRISES,
INC., respondents.
Padilla Law Office for petitioner.
Siguion Reyna, Montecillo & Ongsiako for private respondent.

This is a petition for certiorari under Rule 65 of the Revised Rules of Court to reverse
and set aside the Orders dated June 20, 1991 and September 19, 1991 of the
Regional Trial Court, Branch 61, Makati, Metro Manila in Civil Case No. 90-183.
The Order dated June 20, 1991 denied the motion of petitioner to dismiss the
complaint in Civil Case No. 90-183, while the Order dated September 19, 1991
denied the motion for reconsideration of the June 20,1991 Order.
Petitioner is the Holy See who exercises sovereignty over the Vatican City in Rome,
Italy, and is represented in the Philippines by the Papal Nuncio.
Private respondent, Starbright Sales Enterprises, Inc., is a domestic corporation
engaged in the real estate business.
This petition arose from a controversy over a parcel of land consisting of 6,000
square meters (Lot 5-A, Transfer Certificate of Title No. 390440) located in the
Municipality of Parañaque, Metro Manila and registered in the name of petitioner.
Said Lot 5-A is contiguous to Lots 5-B and 5-D which are covered by Transfer
Certificates of Title Nos. 271108 and 265388 respectively and registered in the
name of the Philippine Realty Corporation (PRC).
The three lots were sold to Ramon Licup, through Msgr. Domingo A. Cirilos, Jr., acting
as agent to the sellers. Later, Licup assigned his rights to the sale to private
In view of the refusal of the squatters to vacate the lots sold to private respondent, a
dispute arose as to who of the parties has the responsibility of evicting and clearing
the land of squatters. Complicating the relations of the parties was the sale by

On January 23, 1990, private respondent filed a complaint with the Regional Trial
Court, Branch 61, Makati, Metro Manila for annulment of the sale of the three parcels
of land, and specific performance and damages against petitioner, represented by
the Papal Nuncio, and three other defendants: namely, Msgr. Domingo A. Cirilos, Jr.,
The complaint alleged that: (1) on April 17, 1988, Msgr. Cirilos, Jr., on behalf of
petitioner and the PRC, agreed to sell to Ramon Licup Lots 5-A, 5-B and 5-D at the
price of P1,240.00 per square meters; (2) the agreement to sell was made on the
condition that earnest money of P100,000.00 be paid by Licup to the sellers, and
that the sellers clear the said lots of squatters who were then occupying the same;
(3) Licup paid the earnest money to Msgr. Cirilos; (4) in the same month, Licup
assigned his rights over the property to private respondent and informed the sellers
of the said assignment; (5) thereafter, private respondent demanded from Msgr.
Cirilos that the sellers fulfill their undertaking and clear the property of squatters;
however, Msgr. Cirilos informed private respondent of the squatters' refusal to
vacate the lots, proposing instead either that private respondent undertake the
eviction or that the earnest money be returned to the latter; (6) private respondent
counterproposed that if it would undertake the eviction of the squatters, the
purchase price of the lots should be reduced from P1,240.00 to P1,150.00 per
square meter; (7) Msgr. Cirilos returned the earnest money of P100,000.00 and
wrote private respondent giving it seven days from receipt of the letter to pay the
original purchase price in cash; (8) private respondent sent the earnest money back
to the sellers, but later discovered that on March 30, 1989, petitioner and the PRC,
without notice to private respondent, sold the lots to Tropicana, as evidenced by two
separate Deeds of Sale, one over Lot 5-A, and another over Lots 5-B and 5-D; and
that the sellers' transfer certificate of title over the lots were cancelled, transferred
and registered in the name of Tropicana; (9) Tropicana induced petitioner and the
PRC to sell the lots to it and thus enriched itself at the expense of private
respondent; (10) private respondent demanded the rescission of the sale to
Tropicana and the reconveyance of the lots, to no avail; and (11) private respondent
is willing and able to comply with the terms of the contract to sell and has actually
made plans to develop the lots into a townhouse project, but in view of the sellers'
breach, it lost profits of not less than P30,000.000.00.
Private respondent thus prayed for: (1) the annulment of the Deeds of Sale between
petitioner and the PRC on the one hand, and Tropicana on the other; (2) the
reconveyance of the lots in question; (3) specific performance of the agreement to
sell between it and the owners of the lots; and (4) damages.
On June 8, 1990, petitioner and Msgr. Cirilos separately moved to dismiss the
complaint — petitioner for lack of jurisdiction based on sovereign immunity from
suit, and Msgr. Cirilos for being an improper party. An opposition to the motion was
filed by private respondent.

p. United States of America v. petitioner moved for reconsideration of the order. Miquiabas v. informing the latter that the respondentemployer could not be sued because it enjoyed diplomatic immunity. in behalf of the Commander of the United States Naval Base at Olongapo City. In England. Calleja. Bradford. he. Zagada v. 75 Phil." So as to facilitate the determination of its defense of sovereign immunity. and that it "adopts by reference. But the general rule admits of exceptions. it entered into a commercial transaction for the sale of a parcel of land located in the Philippines. being a foreign state enjoying sovereign immunity. petitioner filed a "Motion for a Hearing for the Sole Purpose of Establishing Factual Allegation for claim of Immunity as a Jurisdictional Defense. 50 [1945]. asks the Attorney General to submit to the court a "suggestion" that the defendant is entitled to immunity. claiming that it has a legal interest in the outcome of the case as regards the diplomatic immunity of petitioner. 48 SCRA 242 (1972). Philippine-Ryukyus Command. In Public International Law. II A preliminary matter to be threshed out is the procedural issue of whether the petition for certiorari under Rule 65 of the Revised Rules of Court can be availed of to question the order denying petitioner's motion to dismiss. But how the Philippine Foreign Office conveys its endorsement to the courts varies. 1991. 1991. 206 SCRA 582 [1992].S. The Court allowed the said Department to file its memorandum in support of petitioner's claim of sovereign immunity. On October 1. a similar procedure is followed. Note: Immunity from Suit of Foreign Sovereign Instrumentalities and Obligations. petitioner invokes the privilege of sovereign immunity only on its own behalf and on behalf of its official representative. Aquino. In World Health Organization v. III The burden of the petition is that respondent trial court has no jurisdiction over petitioner. both parties and the Department of Foreign Affairs submitted their respective memoranda. the Secretary of Foreign Affairs just sent a letter directly to the Secretary of Labor and Employment. In some cases. through the Office of Legal Affairs moved with this Court to be allowed to intervene on the side of petitioner. 87). the courts can inquire into the facts and make their own determination as to the nature of the acts and transactions involved. 1991. the trial court issued an order deferring the resolution on the motion for reconsideration until after trial on the merits and directing petitioner to file its answer (Rollo. Florendo. the trial court issued an order denying. In the case at bench. In the Philippines. Zambales. 1991. petitioner's motion to dismiss after finding that petitioner "shed off [its] sovereign immunity by entering into the business contract in question" (Rollo. 216 SCRA 114 [1992]. the U. of its own free will." where the foreign state or the international organization sued in an American court requests the Secretary of State to make a determination as to whether it is entitled to immunity. Civil Service Commission. 50 Yale Law Journal 1088 [1941]). In its petition. in turn. Tizon. petitioner prayed that a hearing be conducted to allow it to establish certain facts upon which the said defense is based. 182 SCRA 644 [1990] and companion cases). the practice is for the foreign government or the international organization to first secure an executive endorsement of its claim of sovereign or diplomatic immunity. In International Catholic Migration Commission v. In cases where the foreign states bypass the Foreign Office. it requests the Foreign Office of the state where it is sued to convey to the court that said defendant is entitled to immunity. private respondent insists that the doctrine of non-suability is not anymore absolute and that petitioner has divested itself of such a cloak when. . The general rule is that an order denying a motion to dismiss is not reviewable by the appellate courts. In Baer v. Guinto. On July 12. If the Secretary of State finds that the defendant is immune from suit. In such a case. On the other hand. 1991. pp. On August 30. 262 [1948]. Petitioner forthwith elevated the matter to us. the Secretary of Foreign Affairs sent the trial court a telegram to that effect. the procedure followed is the process of "suggestion. pp. the Papal Nuncio. 186-190). Embassy asked the Secretary of Foreign Affairs to request the Solicitor General to make. 190 SCRA 130 (1990). In compliance with the resolution of this Court. when a state or international agency wishes to plead sovereign or diplomatic immunity in a foreign court. it would be a sheer waste of time and energy to require the parties to undergo the rigors of a trial. 57 SCRA 1 (1974).On June 20. only the Foreign Office issues a certification to that effect instead of submitting a "suggestion" (O'Connell. a "suggestion" to respondent Judge. I International Law 130 [1965]. On December 9. The other procedural question raised by private respondent is the personality or legal interest of the Department of Foreign Affairs to intervene in the case in behalf of the Holy See (Rollo. the remedy of the movant being to file his answer and to proceed with the hearing before the trial court. the defense of sovereign immunity was submitted directly to the local courts by the respondents through their private counsels (Raquiza v. among others. 22). the allegations contained in the petition of the Holy See insofar as they refer to arguments relative to its claim of sovereign immunity from suit" (Rollo. Private respondent opposed this motion as well as the motion for reconsideration. and one of these is when it is very clear in the records that the trial court has no alternative but to dismiss the complaint (Philippine National Bank v. 80 Phil. The Solicitor General embodied the "suggestion" in a Manifestation and Memorandum as amicus curiae. p. a Motion for Intervention was filed before us by the Department of Foreign Affairs. 20-21). In the United States. the Department of Foreign Affairs. Private respondent opposed the intervention of the Department of Foreign Affairs.

which defines a commercial activity as "either a regular course of commercial conduct or a particular commercial transaction or act. without its consent. 125. and the attribution to it of "sovereignty" must be made in a sense different from that in which it is applied to other states (Fenwick. Cruz. Veridiano. the world-wide interests and activities of the Vatican City are such as to make it in a sense an "international state" (Fenwick. 162 SCRA 88 [1988]). Guinto." Furthermore. One authority wrote that the recognition of the Vatican City as a state has significant implication — that it is possible for any entity pursuing objects essentially different from those pursued by states to be invested with international personality (Kunz. Sovereign Immunity As expressed in Section 2 of Article II of the 1987 Constitution. The Republic of the Philippines has accorded the Holy See the status of a foreign sovereign. Despite its size and object. the Vatican City represents an entity organized not for political but for ecclesiastical purposes and international objects. it is difficult to determine whether the statehood is vested in the Holy See or in the Vatican City. who is also head of the Roman Catholic Church.7 acres. the position of the Holy See in International Law became controversial (Salonga and Yap. with the Pope. Coquia and DefensorSantiago.A. Public International Law 194 [1984]). It also recognized the right of the Holy See to receive foreign diplomats. (2) the conduct of public bidding for the repair of a wharf at a United States Naval Station (United States of America v. The restrictive theory came about because of the entry of sovereign states into purely commercial activities remotely connected with the discharge of governmental functions. which is intended to be a solution to the host of problems involving the issue of sovereign immunity. has created problems of its own. be made a respondent in the courts of another sovereign. as the Holy See. 37). but not with regard to private acts or acts jure gestionis (United States of America v. Public and Private 81 [1948]). This appears to be the universal practice in international relations. we have adopted the generally accepted principles of International Law. rather than by reference to its purpose. to send its own diplomats to foreign countries. the immunity of the sovereign is recognized only with regard to public acts or acts jure imperii of a state. I International Law 311 [1965])." The Canadian Parliament enacted in 1982 an Act to Provide For State Immunity in Canadian Courts. B. and to enter into treaties according to International Law (Garcia. the Papal Nuncio. There are two conflicting concepts of sovereign immunity. Even without this affirmation. In 1929. According to the newer or restrictive theory. Public International Law 36-37 [1992]). 87). a sovereign cannot. as the Holy See or Head of State. 182 SCRA 644 [1990]). it is the Holy See that is the international person. Italy and the Holy See entered into the Lateran Treaty. The Vatican City fits into none of the established categories of states. . in conformity with its traditions. The Holy See Before we determine the issue of petitioner's non-suability. p. In view of the wordings of the Lateran Treaty.. supra. Some writers even suggested that the treaty created two international persons — the Holy See and Vatican City (Salonga and Yap. Indeed. 46 The American Journal of International Law 308 [1952]). With the loss of the Papal States and the limitation of the territory under the Holy See to an area of 108. The Lateran Treaty established the statehood of the Vatican City "for the purpose of assuring to the Holy See absolute and visible independence and of guaranteeing to it indisputable sovereignty also in the field of international relations" (O'Connell. supra. 312 [1949]. and the demands of its mission in the world. through its Ambassador. where Italy recognized the exclusive dominion and sovereign jurisdiction of the Holy See over the Vatican City. is of a "commercial character. 136 SCRA 487 [1987]. Kelsen. Ruiz. Questions and Problems In International Law. Before the annexation of the Papal States by Italy in 1870.). Principles of International Law 160 [1956]). the law declared that the "commercial character of the activity shall be determined by reference to the nature of the course of conduct or particular transaction or act. Legal treatises and the decisions in countries which follow the restrictive theory have difficulty in characterizing whether a contract of a sovereign state with a private party is an act jure gestionis or an act jure imperii. The United States passed the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act of 1976. Inasmuch as the Pope prefers to conduct foreign relations and enter into transactions as the Holy See and not in the name of the Vatican City. one can conclude that in the Pope's own view. Ruiz. In a community of national states. act or conduct or any regular course of conduct that by reason of its nature. Lopez. the Pope was the monarch and he. International Law 124-125 [1948]. was considered a subject of International Law. each widely held and firmly established. Some states passed legislation to serve as guidelines for the executive or judicial determination when an act may be considered as jure gestionis. and (3) the change of employment status of base employees (Sanders v. such principles of International Law are deemed incorporated as part of the law of the land as a condition and consequence of our admission in the society of nations (United States of America v. This is particularly true with respect to the Communist states which took control of nationalized business activities and international trading. According to the classical or absolute theory. International Law 37 [1991]). has had diplomatic representations with the Philippine government since 1957 (Rollo." The restrictive theory. the Vatican City has an independent government of its own. This Court has considered the following transactions by a foreign state with private parties as acts jure imperii: (1) the lease by a foreign government of apartment buildings for use of its military officers (Syquia v. a brief look into its status as a sovereign state is in order. 84 Phil. The Act defines a "commercial activity" as any particular transaction. supra. The Holy See. The Status of the Holy See in International Law.

The donation was made not for commercial purpose. and (2) the bidding for the operation of barber shops in Clark Air Base in Angeles City (United States of America v. However. 27).R. Under both Public International Law and Transnational Law. As the department tasked with the conduct of the Philippines' foreign relations (Administrative Code of 1987. The issue of petitioner's non-suability can be determined by the trial court without going to trial in the light of the pleadings. such procedure would however be pointless and unduly circuitous (Ortigas & Co. The operation of the restaurants and other facilities open to the general public is undoubtedly for profit as a commercial and not a governmental activity. 156157). we have to come out with our own guidelines. it is the duty of the courts to accept this claim so as not to embarrass the executive arm of the government in conducting the country's foreign relations (World Health Organization v. By entering into the employment contract with the cook in the discharge of its proprietary function. The determination of the executive arm of government that a state or instrumentality is entitled to sovereign or diplomatic immunity is a political question that is conclusive upon the courts (International Catholic Migration Commission v. a cafeteria. the Foreign Office shall first make a determination of the impact of its espousal on the . petitioner has denied that the acquisition and subsequent disposal of Lot 5-A were made for profit but claimed that it acquired said property for the site of its mission or the Apostolic Nunciature in the Philippines. privileges and immunities of a diplomatic mission or embassy in this country (Rollo. 109645. 20-22). real or personal. G. a diplomatic envoy is granted immunity from the civil and administrative jurisdiction of the receiving state over any real action relating to private immovable property situated in the territory of the receiving state which the envoy holds on behalf of the sending state for the purposes of the mission. or an incident thereof.On the other hand. to espouse its claims against the Holy See. July 25. Ltd. Title I. Guinto. Besides. which in this case is the Holy See. will be deemed to have impliedly waived its nonsuability if it has entered into a contract in its proprietary or private capacity. in a receiving state. (supra): There is no question that the United States of America. and that they stubbornly refuse to leave the premises. 1965. 190 SCRA 130 [1990]). 1994). Of course. Its first task is to persuade the Philippine government to take up with the Holy See the validity of its claims. If this immunity is provided for a diplomatic envoy. Sec. 182 SCRA 644 [1990]). No. Petitioner did not sell Lot 5-A for profit or gain. is recognized in the 1961 Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations (Arts. the procedure would be to remand the case and order the trial court to conduct a hearing to establish the facts alleged by petitioner in its motion. particularly the admission of private respondent. to cater to American servicemen and the general public (United States of America v. The decision to transfer the property and the subsequent disposal thereof are likewise clothed with a governmental character. a store. Private respondent failed to dispute said claim. Calleja. then it is an act jure imperii. has been admitted by private respondent in its complaint (Rollo. The logical question is whether the foreign state is engaged in the activity in the regular course of business. like any other state. As held in United States of America v. consisting of three restaurants. the particular act or transaction must then be tested by its nature. Where the plea of immunity is recognized and affirmed by the executive branch. Ordinarily. necessary for the creation and maintenance of its diplomatic mission. the Department of Foreign Affairs has formally intervened in this case and officially certified that the Embassy of the Holy See is a duly accredited diplomatic mission to the Republic of the Philippines exempt from local jurisdiction and entitled to all the rights. 48 SCRA 242 [1972]). 3). As in International Catholic Migration Commission and in World Health Organization. In the absence of legislation defining what activities and transactions shall be considered "commercial" and as constituting acts jure gestionis. IV Private respondent is not left without any legal remedy for the redress of its grievances. In view of said certification. if petitioner has bought and sold lands in the ordinary course of a real estate business. surely the said transaction can be categorized as an act jure gestionis. Partnership v. the mere entering into a contract by a foreign state with a private party cannot be the ultimate test. 26. a bakery. The fact that squatters have occupied and are still occupying the lot. the privilege of sovereign immunity in this case was sufficiently established by the Memorandum and Certification of the Department of Foreign Affairs. the United States government impliedly divested itself of its sovereign immunity from suit. Guinto. pp. Rodrigo. Certainly. In the case at bench. Lot 5-A was acquired by petitioner as a donation from the Archdiocese of Manila. Such an act can only be the start of the inquiry. If the foreign state is not engaged regularly in a business or trade. It merely wanted to dispose off the same because the squatters living thereon made it almost impossible for petitioner to use it for the purpose of the donation. Aquino. It is only when the contract involves its sovereign or governmental capacity that no such waiver may be implied. this Court has considered the following transactions by a foreign state with private parties as acts jure gestionis: (1) the hiring of a cook in the recreation center. This treaty was concurred in by the Philippine Senate and entered into force in the Philippines on November 15. tentative they may be. especially when it is not undertaken for gain or profit. Book IV. Judge Tirso Velasco. but for the use of petitioner to construct thereon the official place of residence of the Papal Nuncio. 182 SCRA 644 [1990]). If the act is in pursuit of a sovereign activity. pp. with all the more reason should immunity be recognized as regards the sovereign itself. The right of a foreign sovereign to acquire property. and a coffee and pastry shop at the John Hay Air Station in Baguio City. through the Foreign Office. Private respondent can ask the Philippine government. we abide by the certification of the Department of Foreign Affairs. a person who feels aggrieved by the acts of a foreign sovereign can ask his own government to espouse his cause through diplomatic channels. In Article 31(a) of the Convention.

Remedies of Private Claimants Against Foreign States. NERI JAVIER COLMENARES. involving violations of environmental laws and regulations in relation to the grounding of the US military ship USS Guardian over the Tubbataha Reefs. SCOTT H.relations between the Philippine government and the Holy See (Young. the latter ceases to be a private cause. JOSE ENRIQUE A. DOMINGO. PALATINO.1âwphi1 . VIRGILIO 0. It was recognized as one of the Philippines' oldest ecosystems. 150 kilometers southeast of Puerto Princesa City. HON. Tubbataha was inscribed by the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) as a World Heritage Site. INIGUEZ. UNESCO cited Tubbataha's outstanding universal value as an important and significant natural habitat for in situ conservation of biological diversity. PH. Commandant of Armed Forces of the Philippines Command and LT. BAGUINON. ROBLING. a State is in reality asserting its own rights — its right to ensure. GONZALES. 302 [1924]).. THERESA A. pepartment of Foreign Affair. Philippine Navy Flag Officer in Command. Kalikasan-PNE. a smaller coral structure about 20 kilometers north of the atolls. Respondents. MAJOR GEN.2 On April 6.s. ELMER C. 2013. 90-183 against petitioner is DISMISSED. 2010. In December 2012. J. FRANCES Q. ALANO. and crew liberty. AFRICA. Bishop-Emeritus of Caloocan. JR..and the Jessie Beazley Reef.. Kilusang Mayo Uno.. 206510 September 16. Department of Environment and Natural Resoz!rces. SALVADOR. Philippine Coast Guard Palawan. D. Congress passed Republic Act (R. PETER SJ. BAUTISTA. Office of the President. RAMON JESUS P. MARIA CAROLINA P. the ship left Sasebo. SWIFT in his capacity as Commander of the US. 7th Fleet. arriving on January 13. RICE in his capacity as Commanding Officer of the USS Guardian. destroying and disturbing the resources within the TRNP. gathering. The reefs of Tubbataha and Jessie Beazley are considered part of Cagayancillo. a remote island municipality of Palawan. Factual Background The name "Tubbataha" came from the Samal (seafaring people of southern Philippines) language which means "long reef exposed at low tide. Petitioners. Pamalakaya. ALBERT F. In 1993. Pacific and Balikatan 2013 Exercise Co-Director. 1 Hudson. TAPANG. Department of National Defense. WHEREFORE. US Marine Corps Forces. Once the Philippine government decides to espouse the claim. PEDRO D. respect for the rules of international law (The Mavrommatis Palestine Concessions. 09-6-8-SC.: Before us is a petition for the issuance of a Writ of Kalikasan with prayer for the issuance of a Temporary Environmental Protection Order (TEPO) under Rule 7 of A. RAYMOND V. COMMODORE ENRICO EFREN EVANGELISTA. Japan for Subic Bay. TERESITA R.D. QUIMPO. No. Executiv~. Bagong Alyansang Makabayan. REYES. AQUINO III in his capacity as Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Philippines.1 In 1988.the north atoll and the south atoll . Secretary. GAZMIN. 2013 after a brief stop for fuel in Okinawa. Secretary.. LABOG. HON. PRESIDENT BENIGNO S. DEL ROSARIO. 3 otherwise known as the "Tubbataha Reefs Natural Park (TRNP) Act of 2009" "to ensure the protection and conservation of the globally significant economic.A. including fishing. containing excellent examples of pristine reefs and a high diversity of marine life. SIMBULAN. HON. CONCEPCION. vs." Under the "no-take" policy. EDSEL F. VICE ADMIRAL JOSE LUIS M. RENATO M. JR." 4 On January 6. . The law likewise created the Tubbataha Protected Area Management Board (TPAMB) which shall be the sole policy-making and permitgranting body of the TRNP. GIOVANNI A.. TERRY G. the forerunner of the International Court of Justice: By taking up the case of one of its subjects and by reporting to diplomatic action or international judicial proceedings on his behalf. PH. sociocultural. Gabriela. JR. DECISION VILLARAMA. PH.030-hectare protected marine park is also an important habitat for internationally threatened and endangered marine species. PAQUITO OCHOA. 919 [1964]). PH. Vicar Apostolic of Puerto Princesa D. ROLAND G. HON. ARIGO.D. the US Embassy in the Philippines requested diplomatic clearance for the said vessel "to enter and exit the territorial waters of the Philippines and to arrive at the port of Subic Bay for the purpose of routine ship replenishment. Tubbataha lies at the heart of the Coral Triangle.R. No. Aquino on August 11. ARAULLO. the petition for certiorari is GRANTED and the complaint in Civil Case No. JR. 2014 MOST REV. ADMIRAL RODOLFO D. World Court Reports 293. The 97. P AJE." Tubbataha is composed of two huge coral atolls . ISO RENA. Commandant. 10067. VOLTAIRE T. A. 306 issued by President Corazon C. Selected Readings on Protection by Law of Private Foreign Investments 905.) No. and an area of exceptional natural beauty and aesthetic importance. Junk VF A Movement.. educational and scientific values of the Tubbataha Reefs into perpetuity for the enjoyment of present and future generations. Bayan Muna Partylist. JOAN MAY E. JR. Japan. Secretary.D.. PEREZ. in the person of its subjects.D. HON. CLEMENTE G. GUAN. maintenance. TUPAZ. Tubbataha was declared a National Marine Park by virtue of Proclamation No.:Secretary. Armed Forces of the Philippines. The USS Guardian is an Avenger-class mine countermeasures ship of the US Navy. otherwise known as the Rules of Procedure for Environmental Cases (Rules). GEN. NESTOR T. 1988.. HON. MARK A. an example representing significant on-going ecological and biological processes. MARY JOAN A. the global center of marine biodiversity. MOST REV. According to the Permanent Court of International Justice. entry into the waters of TRNP is strictly regulated and many human activities are prohibited and penalized or fined.M. DEOGRACIAS S. Philippine Coast Guard. Agham. Kabataan Party-list. Located in the middle of Central Sulu Sea. G. biological.

Negros Oriental." 6 By March 30. in a meeting at the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) on February 4. in view of the foregoing. and limited commercial activities by fisherfolk and indigenous communities near or around the TRNP but away from the damaged site and an additional buffer zone. filed the present petition agairtst Scott H. 2. Aquino III in his capacity as Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP). Furthermore. 5 Likewise. Aklan. Negros Occidental. Pacific and Balikatan 2013 Exercises Co-Director ("US respondents"). Robling. and damages for personal injury or death. civil. a. Antique. render a Decision which shall include. administrative and criminal suits for acts committed in violation of environmental laws and regulations in connection with the grounding incident.. 2013. Iloilo. which events violate their constitutional rights to a balanced and healthful ecology. "to forthwith negotiate with the United States representatives for the appropriate agreement on [environmental guidelines and environmental accountability] under Philippine authorities as provided in Art. including minors or generations yet unborn." The Petition Petitioners claim that the grounding. Specifically. while transiting the Sulu Sea. Terry G. Gen. Vice-Admiral Jose Luis M. Guimaras. non-payment of conservation fees (Section 21 ). US Ambassador to the Philippines Harry K. Domingo (AFP Commandant). the above-named petitioners on their behalf and in representation of their respective sector/organization and others. petitioners cite the following violations committed by US respondents under R. the US Navy-led salvage team had finished removing the last piece of the grounded ship from the coral reef. expressed regret for the incident in a press statement. Secretary Jesus P. 7th Fleet Commander.S. issue a Resolution extending the TEPO until further orders of the Court. without limitation: a. After due proceedings.. Jr. U. The numerous reliefs sought in this case are set forth in the final prayer of the petition. Jr. and criminal proceedings against erring officers and individuals to the full extent of the law. 2013. US Marine Corps Forces. and to make such proceedings public. in particular.A. Initially demarcating the metes and bounds of the damaged area as well as an additional buffer zone. and environmental damage under the Visiting Forces Agreement in particular. DF A Secretary Albert F. and TawiTawi. Immediately issue upon the filing of this petition a Temporary Environmental Protection Order (TEPO) and/or a Writ of Kalikasan. diving. to cease and desist all operations over the Guardian grounding incident. Order Respondents Secretary of Foreign Affairs. No cine was injured in the incident. obstruction of law enforcement officer (Section 30). d. to wit: WHEREFORE. 2013. Admiral Rodolfo D. Direct Respondents and appropriate agencies to commence administrative. They also seek a directive from this Court for the institution of civil. On April 1 7. Isorena (Philippine Coast Guard Commandant). c. 3. President Benigno S. Basilan. Mark A.On January 15. the USS Guardian departed Subic Bay for its next port of call in Makassar. and destroying and disturbing resources (Section 26[g]). On January 17. AFP). petitioners assail certain provisions of the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) which they want this Court to nullify for being unconstitutional. 2013. Declare that Philippine authorities may exercise primary and exclusive criminal jurisdiction over erring U. Sulu. No. Petitioners respectfully pray that the Honorable Court: 1. Indonesia. . del Rosario that the United States will provide appropriate compensation for damage to the reef caused by the ship. V[] of the VFA . Order Respondents and any person acting on their behalf. about 80 miles east-southeast of Palawan. "reiterated his regrets over the grounding incident and assured Foreign Affairs Secretazy Albert F. Order Respondents to stop all port calls and war games under 'Balikatan' because of the absence of clear guidelines. and there have been no reports of leaking fuel or oil. Del Rosario. Gazmin (Department of National Defense). On January 20. After summary hearing. which shall. Rice in his capacity as Commanding Officer of the USS Guardian and Lt.. Swift in his capacity as Commander of the US 7th Fleet. 10067: unauthorized entry (Section 19). " b. Vice Admiral Scott Swift. d. b..S. Zamboanga del Norte. recreation. Require Respondents to pay just and reasonable compensation in the settlement of all meritorious claims for damages caused to the Tubbataha Reef on terms and conditions no less severe than those applicable to other States. if such had been the case. Alano (Philippine Navy Flag Officer in Command. the ship ran aground on the northwest side of South Shoal of the Tubbataha Reefs. Commodore Enrico Efren Evangelista (Philippine Coast Guard-Palawan). Thomas. and liability schemes for breaches of those duties. Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa. collectively the "Philippine respondents. duties.m. salvaging and post-salvaging operations of the USS Guardian cause and continue to cause environmental damage of such magnitude as to affect the provinces of Palawan. damages to the reef (Section 20). c. 2013 at 2:20 a. Romulo. personnel under the circumstances of this case. and Major General Virgilio 0. following the dispositive portion of Nicolas v. Paje (Department of Environment and Natural Resources). Secretary Voltaire T. Temporarily define and describe allowable activities of ecotourism. and require Respondents to assume responsibility for prior and future environmental damage in general.

Require Respondent US officials and their representatives to place a deposit to the TRNP Trust Fund defined under Section 17 of RA 10067 as a bona .) g. wherever heard. 14 . Require the authorities of the Philippines and the United States to notify each other of the disposition of all cases. (3) the petition improperly raises issues involving the VFA between the Republic of the Philippines and the United States of America. or of paramount public interest. Since only the Philippine respondents filed their comment 8 to the petition.12 In the landmark case of Oposa v." We declared that the right to a balanced and healthful ecology need not be written in the Constitution for it is assumed. and ( 4) the determination of the extent of responsibility of the US Government as regards the damage to the Tubbataha Reefs rests exdusively with the executive branch.1âwphi1 Such right carries with it the correlative duty to refrain from impairing the environment. like other civil and polittcal rights guaranteed in the Bill of Rights. Jr. 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 challenged. p. 10067. to exist from the inception of mankind and it is an issue of transcendental importance with intergenerational implications. Department of National Defense. The Court's Ruling k. and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources to review the Visiting Forces Agreement and the Mutual Defense Treaty to consider whether their provisions allow for the exercise of erga omnes rights to a balanced and healthful ecology and for damages which follow from any violation of those rights. the rule on standing is a procedural matter which this Court has relaxed for nontraditional plaintiffs like ordinary citizens. taxpayers and legislators when the public interest so requires.7 (Underscoring supplied. Convene a multisectoral technical working group to provide scientific and technical support to the TPAMB. related to the grounding of the Guardian. i. such as when the subject matter of the controversy is of transcendental importance. including seizure and delivery of objects connected with the offenses related to the grounding of the Guardian. valuation. repair. Article II. of overreaching significance to society.fide gesture towards full reparations." 11 However. 13 we recognized the "public right" of citizens to "a balanced and healthful ecology which. respondents assert that: ( 1) the grounds relied upon for the issuance of a TEPO or writ of Kalikasan have become fait accompli as the salvage operations on the USS Guardian were already completed. Narrowly tailor the provisions of the Visiting Forces Agreement for purposes of protecting the damaged areas of TRNP. Factoran. n. Require Respondents to regularly publish on a quarterly basis and in the name of transparency and accountability such environmental damage assessment. among other similar grounding incidents. Allow for continuing discovery measures. Restrain Respondents from proceeding with any purported restoration. m. q. of the Philippine Constitution. and "calls for more than just a generalized grievance. (2) the petition is defective in form and substance.e. in all stages of negotiation. Order the Department of Foreign Affairs."10 Specifically. Supervise marine wildlife rehabilitation in the Tubbataha Reefs in all other respects. and Respondents' Consolidated Comment In their consolidated comment with opposition to the application for a TEPO and ocular inspection and production orders. Direct Respondents to cooperate in providing for the attendance of witnesses and in the collection and production of evidence. Require Respondents to engage in stakeholder and LOU consultations in accordance with the Local Government Code and R. j. Provide just and equitable environmental rehabilitation measures and such other reliefs as are just and equitable under the premises. is solemnly incorporated in the fundamental law.9 h. As a preliminary matter. Declare the grant of immunity found in Article V ("Criminal Jurisdiction") and Article VI of the Visiting Forces Agreement unconstitutional for violating equal protection and/or for violating the preemptory norm of nondiscrimination incorporated as part of the law of the land under Section 2. l. including cleanup plans covering the damaged area of the Tubbataha Reef absent a just settlement approved by the Honorable Court. petitioners also filed a motion for early resolution and motion to proceed ex parte against the US respondents. there is no dispute on the legal standing of petitioners to file the present petition. for the first time in our constitutional history. and valuation methods.. salvage or post salvage plan or plans. 4. f.A. Direct Respondents to undertake measures to rehabilitate the areas affected by the grounding of the Guardian in light of Respondents' experience in the Port Royale grounding in 2009. Locus standi is "a right of appearance in a court of justice on a given question. o.

commenced or prosecuted against one of the United States by Citizens of another State. known also as the doctrine of sovereign immunity or non-suability of the State. we would still be bound by the generally accepted principles of international law under the doctrine of incorporation. 16 SCRA 120] In such a situation. made to attach not just to the person of the head of state.S. insofar as it refers to minors and generations yet unborn. Upon its admission to such society. We find no difficulty in ruling that they can. the state may move to dismiss the comp. the performance of their obligation to ensure the protection of that right for the generations to come.17 is expressly provided in Article XVI of the 1987 Constitution which states: Section 3. The implication. in effect. In the case of Minucher v." [De Haber v.) Under the American Constitution. at the same time. such principles are deemed While the doctrine appears to prohibit only suits against the state without its consent. Such rhythm and harmony indispensably include.15 (Emphasis supplied. as follows: The precept that a State cannot be sued in the courts of a foreign state is a longstanding rule of customary international law then closely identified with the personal immunity of a foreign sovereign from suit and. on the principle that humans are stewards of nature. is one of the generally accepted principles of international law that we have adopted as part of the law of our land under Article II." [Kawanakoa v. the minors' assertion of their right to a sound environment constitutes. the doctrine of state immunity is based on the justification given by Justice Holmes that ''there can be no legal right against the authority which makes the law on which the right depends. Under this doctrine. [Garcia v. considers the "rhythm and harmony of nature. the doctrine is expressed in the Eleventh Amendment which reads: The Judicial power of the United States shall not be construed to extend to any suit in law or equity. in broad terms. they can do so in representation of their own and future generations.On the novel element in the class suit filed by the petitioners minors in Oposa. 205 U. Put a little differently." 16 Having settled the issue of locus standi. it is also applicable to complaints filed against officials of the state for acts allegedly performed by them in the discharge of their duties. of the 1987 Constitution. off-shore areas and other natural resources to the end that their exploration. Polybank.19 (Emphasis supplied. every generation has a responsibility to the next to preserve that rhythm and harmony for the full 1:njoyment of a balanced and healthful ecology. the suit must be regarded as against the state itself although it has not been formally impleaded.taint on the ground that it has been filed without its consent. 349] There are other practical reasons for the enforcement of the doctrine. the added inhibition is expressed in the maxim par in parem. or his representative. waters. Chief of Staff. utilization. In the case of the foreign state sought to be impleaded in the local jurisdiction. non habet imperium.) As applied to the local state. Needless to say. B. Such a right. The proscription is not accorded for the benefit of an individual but for the State. inter alia. wildlife. but acting in his official capacity. Queen of Portugal. mineral. "unduly vex the peace of nations. we shall address the more fundamental question of whether this Court has jurisdiction over the US respondents who did not submit any pleading or manifestation in this case. as hereinafter expounded. The State may not be sued without its consent. Even without such affirmation. development and utilization be equitably accessible to the present a:: well as future generations. In United States of America v. 171] The liberalization of standing first enunciated in Oposa. the judicious disposition. land. suing the state itself. Section 2. now · expressed in Article XVI." Nature means the created world in its entirety. fisheries. under the maxim -par in parem. 18 we discussed the principle of state immunity from suit. is that if the judgment against an official would rec 1uire the state itself to perform an affirmative act to satisfy the award. The rule is that if the judgment against such officials will require the state itself to perform an affirmative act to satisfy the same. for others of their generation and for the succeeding generations. in whose service he is. The provision on citizen suits in the Rules "collapses the traditional rule on personal and direct interest. but also distinctly to the state itself in its sovereign capacity. Suing a representative of a state is believed to be. file a class suit. Section 3. All states are sovereign equals and cannot assert jurisdiction over one another. management. Court of Appeals. non habet imperium -that all states are soverr~ign equals and cannot assert jurisdiction over one another. with the emergence of democratic states. 20 we further expounded on the immunity of foreign states from the jurisdiction of local courts. the complaint could be barred by the immunity of the foreign sovereign from suit without its consent. for themselves. Judge Guinto. The immunity of the State from suit. in the language of a celebrated case. Thus: incorporated in the law of every civilized state as a condition and consequence of its membership in the society of nations. is now enshrined in the Rules which allows the filing of a citizen suit in environmental cases. as accepted by the majority of states. 17 Q. Petitioners minors assert that they represent their generation as well as generations yet unborn. although not necessarily a diplomatic personage. or by Citizens or Subjects of any Foreign State. as follows: The rule that a state may not be sued without its consent. If the acts giving rise to a suit arc those of a foreign government done by its foreign agent. the state is automatically obligated to comply with these principles in its relations with other states. renewal and conservation of the country's forest.. A contrary disposition would. Their personality to sue in behalf of the succeeding generations can only be based on the concept of intergenerational responsibility insofar as the right to a balanced and healthful ecology is concerned. x x x. such as the appropriation of the amount needed to pay the damages awarded against them. such as the appropriation of the amount needed to pay the damages decreed . this Court ruled that not only do ordinary citizens have legal standing to sue for the enforcement of environmental rights.

) In this case. et al. they cannot be directly impleaded for acts imputable to their principal.) In the same case we also mentioned that in the case of diplomatic immunity. rather. the privilege is not an immunity from the observance of the law of the territorial sovereign or from ensuing legal liability. The UNCLOS is a product of international negotiation that seeks to balance State sovereignty (mare clausum) and the principle of freedom of the high seas (mare liberum). As was clearly set forth by JustiGe Zaldivar in Director of the Bureau of Telecommunications. The RTC denied the motion but on a petition for certiorari and prohibition filed before this Court.21(Emphasis supplied. It follows that for discharging their duties as agents of the United States. the suit is deemed to be one against the US itself. It is 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 done with malice and in bad faith. The principle of State immunity therefore bars the exercise of jurisdiction by this Court over the persons of respondents Swift. 6425.22 In United States of America v. In a complaint for damages filed by the said employee against the military officers. as a matter of long-standing policy the US considers itself bound by customary international rules on the "traditional uses of the oceans" as codified in UNCLOS. or beyond the scope of his authority or jurisdiction. brings the matter within the ambit of Article 31 of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS). principle.against him. 30 The UNCLOS gives to the coastal State . when its warship entered a restricted area in violation of R. as can be gleaned from previous declarations by former Presidents Reagan and Clinton. although it has not been formally impleaded. They state that the doctrine of 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. Under the restrictive rule of State immunity. Considering that the satisfaction of a judgment against said officials will require remedial actions and appropriation of funds by the US government. thus: 25 we discussed the limitations of the State immunity It is a different matter where the public official is made to account in his capacity as such for acts contrary to law and injurious to the rights of plaintiff. It is a branch of public international law. State immunity extends only to acts Jure imperii. Ltd.24 In Shauf v. etc. which has not given its consent to be sued. and the exercise of jurisdiction over maritime regimes. No. an immunity from the exercise of territorial jurisdiction. 10067 and caused damage to the TRNP reef system. warships enjoy sovereign immunity from suit as extensions of their flag State. During the deliberations. Court of Appeals. 31 of the UNCLOS creates an exception to this rule in cases where they fail to comply with the rules and regulations of the coastal State regarding passage through the latter's internal waters and the territorial sea. Jamaica. he violates or invades the personal and property rights of the plaintiff. it is. commercial and proprietary acts (Jure gestionis). and an action against the officials or officers by one whose rights have been invaded or violated by such acts. The restrictive application of State immunity is proper only when the proceedings arise out of commercial transactions of the foreign sovereign. 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 its crew. unauthorized acts of government officials or officers are not acts of the State. Rice and Robling. Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines."28 The UNCLOS is a multilateral treaty which was opened for signature on December 10.. and was eventually dismissed from his employment when he was charged in court for violation of R. while claiming to act for the State. Art. It was ratified by the Philippines in 1984 but came into force on November 16. This situation usually arises where the public official acts without authority or in excess of the powers vested in him. This traditional rule of State immunity which exempts a State from being sued in the courts of another State without the former's consent or waiver has evolved into a restrictive doctrine which distinguishes sovereign and governmental acts (Jure imperil") from private. 23 one of the consolidated cases therein involved a Filipino employed at Clark Air Base who was arrested following a buy-bust operation conducted by two officers of the US Air Force. et al. vs. although the US to date has not ratified the UNCLOS. the latter moved to dismiss the case on the ground that the suit was against the US Government which had not given its consent. Carpio took the position that the conduct of the US in this case. regulating the relations of states with respect to the uses of the oceans.26 (Emphasis supplied. and the US judiciary in the case of United States v. We held that petitioners US military officers were acting in the exercise of their official functions when they conducted the buy-bust operation against the complainant and thereafter testified against him at his trial. under an unconstitutional act or under an assumption of authority which he does not have." The rationale for this ruling is that the doctrine of state immunity cannot be used as an instrument for perpetrating an injustice. The cloak of protection afforded the officers and agents of the government is removed the moment they are sued in their individual capacity. its commercial activities or economic affairs.29 The freedom to use the world's marine waters is one of the oldest customary principles of international law. Senior Associate Justice Antonio T. According to Justice Carpio.A.27 The international law of the sea is generally defined as "a body of treaty rules arid customary norms governing the uses of the sea. xxxx The aforecited authorities are clear on the matter. In the same tenor. He explained that while historically. the exploitation of its resources. the suit must be regarded as being against the state itself. we reversed the RTC and dismissed the complaint. is not a suit against the State within the rule of immunity of the State from suit. it has been said that an action at law or suit in equity against a State officer or the director of a State department on the ground that. No. Aligaen. : "Inasmuch as the State authorizes only legal acts by its officers.A. is not a suit against the State within the constitutional provision that the State may not be sued without its consent. for the protection of his rights. 1994 upon the submission of the 60th ratification. Judge Guinto. The alleged act or omission resulting in the unfortunate grounding of the USS Guardian on the TRNP was committed while they we:re performing official military duties. 1982 at Montego Bay.

While UNCLOS cleared the Senate Foreign Relations Committee (SFRC) during the 108th and 110th Congresses. and President Clinton's reiteration of the US policy "to act in a manner consistent with its [UNCLOS] provisions relating to traditional uses of the oceans and to encourage other countries to do likewise. auxiliaries anJ government provisions. the U." Since Article 31 relates to the "traditional uses of the oceans.S. so long as the rights and freedom of the United States and others under international law are recognized by such coastal states". they continue to enjoy sovereign immunity subject to the following exceptions: Article Non-compliance by warships with the laws and regulations of the coastal State 30 If any warship does not comply with the laws and regulations of the coastal State concerning passage through the territorial sea and disregards any request for compliance therewith which is made to it. the bulk of UNCLOS member states cooperated over the succeeding decade to revise the objection. This did not occur. such as the Sulu Sea in this case. But what if the offending warship is a non-party to the UNCLOS. and reaffirms sovereign immunity of warships." As to the non-ratification by the US." and "if under its policy. transit passage.over 80% -. The revisions satisfied the Clinton administration. Despite consistent support from President Clinton. the Senate has since withheld the consent required for the President to internationally bind the United States to UNCLOS. membership. each of his successors. states in the waters off their coasts.S.33 as pointed out by Justice Carpio.S.32 In the case of warships. and archipelagic sea lanes passage rights. participation in international institutions. as shown by the following statement posted on its official website: The Convention is in the national interest of the United States because it establishes stable maritime zones. It also gives coastal States more or less jurisdiction over foreign vessels depending on where the vessel is located. 4) exclusive economic zone. xxxx While the Reagan administration was instrumental in UNCLOS' negotiation and drafting. nothing in this Convention affects the immunities of warships and other government ships operated for non-commercial purposes.sovereign rights in varying degrees over the different zones of the sea which are: 1) internal waters. the US? An overwhelming majority . the coastal State may require it to leave the territorial sea immediately. Justice Carpio emphasizes that "the US' refusal to join the UN CLOS was centered on its disagreement with UN CLOS' regime of deep seabed mining (Part XI) which considers the oceans and deep seabed commonly owned by mankind. President Clinton transmitted UNCLOS and the Part XI implementing agreement to the Senate requesting its advice and consent." pointing out that such "has nothing to do with its [the US'] acceptance of customary international rules on navigation. In the fall of 1994. as in this case. 3) contiguous zone. which signed the revised Part XI implementing agreement in 1994. Article Responsibility of the flag State for damage caused by a warship 31 or other government ship operated for non-commercial purposes The flag State shall bear international responsibility for any loss or damage to the coastal State resulting from the non-compliance by a warship or other government ship operated for non-commercial purposes with the laws and regulations of the coastal State concerning passage through the territorial sea or with the provisions of this Convention or other rules of international law. but despite this the US. and an ideologically diverse array of stakeholders. as reflected in the convention [UNCLOS]. due to concerns over deep seabed mining technology transfer provisions contained in Part XI.) A foreign warship's unauthorized entry into our internal waters with resulting damage to marine resources is one situation in which the above provisions may apply. 1983 that the US will "recognize the rights of the other . and 5) the high seas.of nation states are now members of UNCLOS. In a remarkable. (Emphasis supplied. 34 Justice Carpio invited our attention to the policy statement given by President Reagan on March 10. and no Senate action has been taken on UNCLOS by the 112th Congress."' Justice Carpio postulates that "there is more reason to expect it to recognize the rights of other states in their internal waters. has not ratified it. Such sovereignty extends to the air space over the territorial sea as well as to its bed and subsoil." It may be mentioned that even the US Navy Judge Advocate General's Corps publicly endorses the ratification of the UNCLOS. the world's leading maritime power. including a maximum outer limit for territorial seas. subject to the UNCLOS and other rules of international law. its progress continues to be hamstrung by significant pockets of political ambivalence over U. multilateral effort to induce U. the Coastal State exercises sovereignty. 2) territorial sea. 31 Insofar as the internal waters and territorial sea is concerned. the US 'recognize[s] the rights of the other states in the waters off their coasts. codifies innocent passage. delegation ultimately voted against and refrained from signing it . 111 th Congress SFRC Chairman Senator John Kerry included "voting out" UNCLOS for full Senate consideration among his highest priorities. works against "jurisdictiomtl creep" by preventing coastal nations from expanding their own maritime zones. Most recently. Article 32 Immunities of warships and other government ships operated for non-commercial purposes With such exceptions as are contained in subsection A and in articles 30 and 31.

petitioners asseverate that the US respondents are liable for negligence. 35 We fully concur with Justice Carpio's view that non-membership in the UNCLOS does not mean that the US will disregard the rights of the Philippines as a Coastal State over its internal waters and territorial sea. We are not persuaded. which has been actively supporting the country's efforts to preserve our vital marine resources. We also find it unnecessary at this point to determine whether such waiver of State immunity is indeed absolute. preserve. (b) Directing the respondent public official. and recognized the rights of coastal states to conserve and manage the natural resources in this Zone. (d) Directing the respondent public official. criminal or administrative actions. (c) Directing the respondent public official. we cannot grant damages which have resulted from the violation of environmental laws.-The filing of a petition for the issuance of the writ of kalikasan shall not preclude the filing of separate civil. the court shall render judgment granting or denying the privilege of the writ of kalikasan.ea immediately if they flout the laws and regulations of the Coastal State. for the protection and preservation of the marine environment. 36 The invocation of US federal tort laws and even common law is thus improper considering that it is the VF A which governs disputes involving US military ships and crew navigating Philippine waters in pursuance of the objectives of the agreement. and they will be liable for damages caused by their warships or any other government vessel operated for non-commercial purposes under Article 31. It provides for the guidelines to govern such visits of military personnel. govemment agency. Although the said treaty upholds the immunity of warships from the jurisdiction of Coastal States while navigating the.37 Section 15. Further. in formulating and elaborating international rules. 17. We thus expect the US to bear "international responsibility" under Art. Judgment. The Rules allows the recovery of damages. Even under the common law tort claims. the relevance of UNCLOS provisions to the present controversy is beyond dispute.A. 10067. In fact. No.-Within sixty (60) days from the time the petition is submitted for decision. The reliefs that may be granted under the writ are the following: (a) Directing respondent to permanently cease and desist from committing acts or neglecting the performance of a duty in violation of environmental laws resulting in environmental destruction or damage. trespass and nuisance. they invoke federal statutes in the US under which agencies of the US have statutorily waived their immunity to any action. Institution of separate actions. it is our considered view that a ruling on the application or nonapplication of criminal jurisdiction provisions of the VF A to US personnel who may be found responsible for the grounding of the USS Guardian. the flag States shall be required to leave the territorial '::. Rule 7 enumerates the reliefs which may be granted in a petition for issuance of a writ of Kalikasan. In any case. Petitioners argue that there is a waiver of immunity from suit found in the VFA. Indeed. materials and supplies. it can be inferred from Section 17. As it is. In the same vein. government agency. would be premature and beyond the province of a petition for a writ of Kalikasan. 15. standards and recommended practices and procedures consistent with this Convention. in a separate civil suit or that deemed instituted with the criminal action charging the same violation of an environmental law. would shirk from its obligation to compensate the damage caused by its warship while transiting our internal waters. on a regional basis.Economically. private person or entity to monitor strict compliance with the decision and orders of the court. and . viz: Article Cooperation on a global or regional basis 197 States shall cooperate on a global basis and. importation and exportation of equipment. directly or through competent international organizations. accession to the Convention would support our national interests by enhancing the ability of the US to assert its sovereign rights over the resources of one of the largest continental shelves in the world.latter's territorial sea. taking into account characteristic regional features. to wit: SEC. private person or entity to protect. In fine. Likewise. Much less can we comprehend a Government exercising leadership in international affairs. rehabilitate or restore the environment. and further defines the rights of the United States and the Philippine government in the matter of criminal jurisdiction. movement of vessel and aircraft. it is the Law of the Sea Convention that first established the concept of a maritime Exclusive Economic Zone out to 200 nautical miles. Rule 7 of the Rules that a criminal case against a person charged with a violation of an environmental law is to be filed separately: SEC. The VFA is an agreement which defines the treatment of United States troops and personnel visiting the Philippines to promote "common security interests" between the US and the Philippines in the region. the waiver of State immunity under the VF A pertains only to criminal jurisdiction and not to special civil actions such as the present petition for issuance of a writ of Kalikasan. as appropriate. government agency. it is difficult to imagine that our long-time ally and trading partner. unwilling to comply with the UNCLOS directive for all nations to cooperate in the global task to protect and preserve the marine environment as provided in Article 197. or private person or entity to make periodic reports on the execution of the final judgment. 31 in connection with the USS Guardian grounding which adversely affected the Tubbataha reefs. including the collection of administrative fines under R.

) We agree with respondents (Philippine officials) in asserting that this petition has become moot in the sense that the salvage operation sought to be enjoined or restrained had already been accomplished when petitioners sought recourse from this Court. otherwise. the court shall immediately refer the parties or their counsel. viz: RULES The mediation report must be submitted within ten (10) days from the expiration of the 30-day period. preservation or rehabilitation of the environment and the payment of attorney's fees. to wit: RULE3 xxxx SEC. Referral to mediation. rehabilitation or restoration of the environment. the court shall refer the case to the clerk of court or legal researcher for mediation..-The judge shall put the parties and their counsels under oath. the Court defers to the Executive Branch on the matter of compensation and rehabilitation measures through diplomatic channels."39 A rehabilitation or restoration program to be implemented at the cost of the violator is also a major relief that may be obtained under a judgment rendered in a citizens' suit under the Rules. ran aground about half a mile off the Honolulu Airport Reef Runway and remained stuck for four days. 38 To underscore that the US government is prepared to pay appropriate compensation for the damage caused by the USS Guardian grounding." The US team intends to "help assess damage and remediation options.5 million restoring the coral reef. After spending $6. (Underscoring supplied. 5.(e) Such other reliefs which relate to the right of the people to a balanced and healthful ecology or to the protection. SEC. the US Embassy in the Philippines has announced the formation of a US interdisciplinary scientific team which will "initiate discussions with the Government of the Philippines to review coral reef rehabilitation options in Tubbataha. except the award of damages to individual petitioners.-If warranted. petitioners are entitled to these reliefs notwithstanding the completion of the removal of the USS Guardian from the coral reef. the US government was reported to have paid the State of Hawaii $8. to the Philippine Mediation Center (PMC) unit for purposes of mediation. the costs of which shall be borne by the violator. we are mindful of the fact that the US and Philippine governments both expressed readiness to negotiate and discuss the matter of compensation for the damage caused by the USS Guardian. Before the scheduled date of continuance. non-governmental organizations. the court may grant to the plaintiff proper reliefs which shall include the protection.-At the start of the pre-trial conference. It may also require the violator to submit a program of rehabilitation or restoration of the environment. if authorized by their clients. As can be gleaned from the following provisions. preservation. The US Embassy has also declared it is closely coordinating with local scientists and experts in assessing the extent of the damage and appropriate methods of rehabilitation. Preliminary conference. xxxx SEC.) The Court takes judicial notice of a similar incident in 2009 when a guided-missile cruiser. the court will schedule the continuance of the pre-trial. the USS Port Royal. and they shall remain under oath in all pre-trial conferences. the court may refer the case to the branch clerk of court for a preliminary conference for the following purposes: SECTION 1. However. The judge shall exert best efforts to persuade the parties to arrive at a settlement of the dispute.-If mediation fails. xxxx In the light of the foregoing. costs of suit and other litigation expenses. It is settled that "[t]he conduct of the foreign relations of our government is committed by the Constitution to the . 10. and scientific experts from Philippine universities. But insofar as the directives to Philippine respondents to protect and rehabilitate the coral reef stn icture and marine habitat adversely affected by the grounding incident are concerned. in coordination with the Tubbataha Management Office. mediation and settlement are available for the consideration of the parties. public order and public policy to protect the right of the people to a balanced and healthful ecology.5 million in settlement over coral reef damage caused by the grounding. (Emphasis supplied. Reliefs in a citizen suit. and which dispute resolution methods are encouraged by the court. Resolution of these issues impinges on our relations with another State in the context of common security interests under the VFA. consent decree. appropriate Philippine government entities. SEC. the court shall inquire from the parties if they have settled the dispute. If not available. or to contribute to a special trust fund for that purpose subject to the control of the court. Pre-trial conference. The judge may issue a consent decree approving the agreement between the parties in accordance with law.The court shall endeavor to make the parties to agree to compromise or settle in accordance with law at any stage of the proceedings before rendition of judgment. morals. 4. Efforts to settle. 3. Mediation must be conducted within a non-extendible period of thirty (30) days from receipt of notice of referral to mediation. Exploring avenues for settlement of environmental cases is not proscribed by the Rules. based on assessments by Philippinebased marine scientists.1âwphi1 (a) To assist the parties in reaching a settlement.

the parties are required as a matter of international law to abide by its terms and . and the propriety of what may be done in the exercise of this political power is not subject to judicial inquiry or decision. Exec. As held in BAYAN (Bagong Alyansang Makabayan) v. Zamora. Sec. The VF A being a valid and binding agreement. WHEREFORE. SO ORDERED.42 The present petition under the Rules is not the proper remedy to assail the constitutionality of its provisions. On the other hand."40 provisions.executive and legislative-"the political" --departments of the government. the petition for the issuance of the privilege of the Writ of Kalikasan is hereby DENIED. we cannot grant the additional reliefs prayed for in the petition to order a review of the VFA and to nullify certain immunity provisions thereof. 41 the VFA was duly concurred in by the Philippine Senate and has been recognized as a treaty by the United States as attested and certified by the duly authorized representative of the United States government. No pronouncement as to costs.