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Republic of the Philippines, petitioner, vs. Hon. Edilberto G. Sandoval, RTC of Manila, Branch 9, Caylao et.

G. R. No. 84607, March 19, 2003


The doctrines of immunity of the government from suit is expressly provided in the Constitution under
Article XVI, Section 3. It is provided that the State may not be sued without its consent. Some instances when
a suit against the State is proper are: (1) When the Republic is sued by name; (2) When the suit is against an
unincorporated government agency; (3) When the suit is, on its face, against a government officer but the
case is such that ultimate liablity will belong not to the officer but to the government.
With respect to the incident that happened in Mendiola on January 22, 1987 that befell twelve
rallyists, the the case filed against the military officers was dismissed by the lower court. The defendants
were held liable but it would not result in financial responsibility to the government. The petitioner (Caylao
Group) filed a suit against the State that for them the State has waived its immunity when the Mendiola
Commission recommended the government to indemnify the victims of the Mendiola incident and the acts and
utterances of President Aquino which is sympathetic to the cause is indicative of State's waiver of immunity
and therefore, the government should also be liable and should be compensated by the government . The
case has been dismissed that State has not waived its immunity. On the other hand, the Military Officer filed a
petition for certiorari to review the orders of the Regional Trial Court, Branch 9.


Whether or not the State has waived its immunity from suit and therefore should the State be liable
for the incident?


No. The recommendation made by the Mendiola Commission regarding the indemnification of the
heirs of the deceased and the victims of the incident does not in any way mean liability authomatically
attaches to the State. The purpose of which is to investigate of the disorders that took place and the
recommendation it makes cannot in any way bind the State. The acts and utterances of President Aquino does
not mean admission of the State of its liability. Moreover, the case does not qualify as suit against the State.
While the Republic in this case is sued by name, the ultimate liability does not pertain to the government.
The military officials are held liable for the damages for their official functions ceased the moment they have
exceeded to their authority. They were deployed to ensure that the rally would be peaceful and orderly and
should guarantee the safety of the people. The court has made it quite clear that even a “high position in the
government does not confer a license to persecute or recklessly injure another.” The court rules that there is
no reversible error and no grave abuse of dicretion commited by the respondent Judge in issuing the
questioned orders.