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Shauf v.

CA 191 SCRA 713

SHAUF vs. COURT OF APPEALS

Petition for certiorari to review the decision of CA

FACTS:

• 1990: Petitioner, Loida Shauf, a Filipino by origin and married to an American who is a
member of the US Air Force, was rejected for a position of Guidance Counselor in the Base
Education Office at Clark Air Base. She boasts of related working experience and being a
qualified dependent locally available.

• By reason of her non-selection, she filed a complaint for damages and an equal employment
opportunity complaint against private respondents, Don Detwiler (civillian personnel officer) and
Anthony Persi (Education Director), for alleged discrimination by reason of her sex (female),
color (brown) and national origin (Filipino by birth).

• Shauf was offered a temporary position as a temporary Assistant Education Adviser for a 180-
day period with the condition that if a vacancy occurs, she will be automatically selected to fill
the vacancy. But if no vacancy occurs after 180 days, she will be released but will be selected to
fill a future vacancy if she’s available. Shauf accepted the offer. During that time, Mrs. Mary
Abalateo’s was about to vacate her position. But Mrs. Abalateo’s appointment was extended
thus, Shauf was never appointed to said position. She claims that the Abalateo’s stay was
extended indefinitely to deny her the appointment as retaliation for the complaint that she filed
against Persi. Persi denies this allegation. He claims it was a joint decision of the management &
it was in accordance of with the applicable regulation.

• Shauf filed for damages and other relief in different venues such as the Civil Service
Commission, Appeals Review Board, Philippine Regional Trial Court, etc.

• RTC ruled in favor of Shauf ordering defendants to pay $39,662.49 as actual damages + 20%
of such amount as attorney’s fees + P100k as moral & exemplary damages.

• Both parties appealed to the CA. Shauf prayed for the increase of the damages to be collected
from defendants. Defendants on the other hand, continued using the defense that they are
immune from suit for acts done/statements made by them in performance of their official
governmental functions pursuant to RP-US Military Bases Agreement of 1947. They claim that
the Philippines does not have jurisdiction over the case because it was under the exclusive
jurisdiction of a US District Court. They likewise claim that petitioner failed to exhaust all
administrative remedies thus case should be dismissed. CA reversed RTC decision. According to
the CA, defendants are immune from suit.
• Shauf claims that the respondents are being sued in their private capacity thus this is not a suit
against the US government w/c would require consent.

• Respondents still maintain their immunity from suit. They further claim that the rule allowing
suits against public officers & employees for criminal & unauthorized acts is applicable only in
the Philippines & is not part of international law.

ISSUE: WON private respondents are immune from suit being officers of the US Armed Forces

HELD:

Respondents ordered, jointly and severally, to pay petitioners the sum of P100K as moral
damages, P20K for atty’s fees.

RATIO:

No, the respondents cannot rely on the US blanket of diplomatic immunity for all its acts or the
acts of its agents in the Phils. Private respondents are personally liable in indemnifying petitioner
Shauf.

While the doctrine of immunity is also applicable to complaints filed against state officials, it
only contemplates acts done in their official capacity. This does not cover acts contrary to law &
injurious to the rights of the plaintiff. When an official acts in a manner that invades or violates
the personal & property rights of another, the aggrieved party may sue the official & such suit
will not be a suit against the state. (Director of the Bureau of Telecommunications vs. Aligaen)
The doctrine of immunity from suit will not apply where the public official is being sued in his
private & personal capacity as an ordinary citizen.

The discrimination is very evident. Shauf was not considered for the position even if she was
previously employed as a Guidance Counselor at the Clark Airbase. She was not granted an
interview. The person appointed was not even qualified for that position and that person kept the
position despite orders from the US Civil Service Commission for his removal. Extension of
Abalateo’s services is another proof. She was not appointed even if US officials found her highly
qualified for the position (letters from the Director of the US Civil Service Commission, Staff
Judge Advocate of the Department of Air Force). Shauf has proven that discrimination did occur
whereas respondents merely denied allegations.

The US Constitution assures everyone of equality in employment & work opportunities


regardless of sex, race, or creed. The Philippine Constitution has a similar provision. Persi &
Detwiler violated Shauf’s constitutional right to earn a living, an integral aspect of her right to
life. Thus, they should be accountable. Though Shauf is entitled to damages, she should not be
paid for the supposedly unearned income had she been hired as a Guidance Counselor. She never
acquired rights over that amount because she was never appointed.
Shauf followed the proper procedure in seeking relief for the defendants’ discriminatory acts.
The Department of Air Force in Washington told her that one of her appeal rights would be to
file a civil action if a final decision has not been rendered after 180 days from the dated of the
initial appeal to the Commission. The appeal was lodged on Sept. 30, 1978 and it has not been
decided up to the time SC has decided. Shauf is entitled to choose the remedy, not otherwise
prohibited, which will best advance & protect her interests.