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Holy See v.

Rosario
AUTHOR: Magsino, Patricia Marie C.
[G.R. No. 101949, Dec. 1, 1994]
TOPIC: State is not lost when one of its elements is
changed
PONENTE: Quiason, J.
Facts:
Petition arose from a controversy over a parcel of land. Lot 5-A, registered under the name Holy See, the land was
donated by the Archdiocese of Manila to the Papal Nuncio, which represents the Holy See, who exercises
sovereignty over the Vatican City, Rome, Italy, for his residence
Said lots were sold through an agent Msgr. Cirilos, Jr. to Ramon Licup who assigned his rights to respondents
Starbright Sales Enterprises, Inc
When the squatters refuse to vacate the lots, a dispute arose between the two parties because both were unsure
whose responsibility was it to evict the squatters from said lots
Respondent Starbright Sales Enterprises Inc. insists that Holy See should clear the property while Holy See says
that respondent corporation should do it, the lots were then sold to Tropicana Properties and Developmen
Corporation
Starbright Sales Enterprises, Inc. filed a suit for annulment of the sale, specific performance and damages agains
Msgr. Cirilos, PRC as well as Tropicana Properties and Development Corporation
The Holy See and Msgr. Cirilos moved to dismiss the petition for lack of jurisdiction based on sovereign immunity
from suit.
RTC denied the motion on ground that petitioner already "shed off" its sovereign immunity by entering into a
business contract. The subsequent Motion for Reconsideration was also denied
Petitioners now file a special civil action for certiorari before the SC
ISSUE(S):
Can the Holy See invoke sovereign immunity
HELD:
YES. The Holy See may invoke sovereign immunity.
Petition is GRANTED.
Case against the petitioner is DISMISSED.
RATIO:
The Court held that Holy See can properly invoke sovereign immunity for its non-suability. As expressed in Sec. 2 Art II o
the 1987 Constitution, generally accepted principles of International Law are adopted by our Courts and thus shall form
part of the laws of the land as a condition and consequence of our admission in the society of nations.

It was noted in Article 31(A) of the 1961 Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations that diplomatic envoy shall be
granted immunity from civil and administrative jurisdiction of the receiving state over any real action relating to private
immovable property. The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) certified that the Embassy of the Holy See is a duly
accredited diplomatic missionary to the Republic of the Philippines and is thus exempted from local jurisdiction and is
entitled to the immunity rights of a diplomatic mission or embassy in this Court.
CASE LAW/ DOCTRINE:
DISSENTING/CONCURRING OPINION(S):