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DA v. NLRC (1993) The petitioner alleges that the NLRC with grave abuse
227 SCRA 693 of discretion for refusing to quash the writ of
execution. The petitioner faults the NLRC for assuming
Doctrine of Non-Suability of the State under Article jurisdiction over a money claim against the
XVI, Section 3 of the Constitution. Department, which, it claims, falls under the exclusive
jurisdiction of the Commission on Audit. More
“Section 3. The State may not be sued without its importantly, the petitioner asserts, the NLRC has
consent.” disregarded the cardinal rule on the non-suability of
the State.
Facts: The case is regarding money claims filed by
The private respondents, on the other hand, argue that
employees of a secuity agency against the Department
the petitioner has impliedly waived its immunity from
of Agriculture (DA) as filed and requested by National
suit by concluding a service contract with Sultan
Labor Relations Commission (NLRC).
Security Agency.
Department of Agriculture (Petitioner) and Sultan
Issue: Whether or not the doctrine of non-suability of
Security Agency entered into a contract for security
the State is applicable on this case.
services to be provided by the latter to the said
governmental entity. Pursuant to their arrangements,
Rulings: No. The rule of non-suability of the State is not
guards were deployed by Sultan Security Agency in the
absolute and it does not say that the State may not be
various premises of the DA.
sued under any circumstances. The State may at times
be sued. The general law waiving the immunity of the
Thereafter, several guards filed a complaint for
state from suit is found in Act No. 3083, where the
underpayment of wages, non-payment of 13th month
Philippine government “consents and submits to be
pay, uniform allowances, night shift differential pay,
sued upon any money claims involving liability arising
holiday pay, and overtime pay, as well as for damages
from contract, express or implied, which could serve as
against the DA and the security agency.
a basis of civil action between private parties.”
The Labor Arbiter rendered a decision finding the DA
Express consent may be made through a general law or
jointly and severally liable with the security agency for
a special law.
the payment of money claims (aggregating
266,483.91PHP) of the complainant security guards.
Implied consent, on the other hand, is conceded when
The DA and the security agency did not appeal the
the State itself commences litigation, thus opening
decision. Thus, the decision became final and
itself to a counterclaim or when it enters into a
executory. The Labor Arbiter issued a writ of execution
to enforce and execute the judgment against the
 In this situation, the government is deemed to
property of the DA and the security agency. Forthwith,
have descended to the level of the other
the City Sheriff levied on execution the motor vehicles
contracting party and to have divested itself of
of the DA.
its sovereign immunity.
A petition for injunction, prohibition and mandamus,
This rule, relied upon by the NLRC and the private
with prayer for preliminary writ of injunction was filed
respondents, is not, however, without qualification.
by the petitioner with the NLRC, alleging that the writ
Not all contracts entered into by the government
issued was effected without the Labor Arbiter having
operate as a waiver of its non-suability; distinction
duly acquired jurisdiction over the petitioner, and that,
must still be made between one which is executed in
therefore, the decision of the Labor Arbiter was null
the exercise of its sovereign function and another
and void and all actions pursuant thereto should be
which is done in its proprietary capacity.
deemed equally invalid and of no legal, effect. The
petitioner also pointed out that the attachment or
In this case, The DA has not pretended to have
seizure of its property would hamper and jeopardize
assumed a capacity apart from its being a
petitioner's governmental functions to the prejudice of
governmental entity when it entered into the
the public good.
questioned contract; nor that it could have, in fact,

performed any act proprietary in character. But, be “WHEREFORE, the petition is GRANTED. The resolution
that as it may, the claims of the complainant security is hereby REVERSED and SET ASIDE. The writ of
guards clearly constitute money claims. execution directed against the property of the
Department of Agriculture is nullified, and the public
Discussion: respondents are hereby enjoined permanently from
ACT NO. 3083 - AN ACT DEFINING THE CONDITIONS doing, issuing and implementing any and all writs of
UNDER WHICH THE GOVERNMENT OF THE PHILIPPINE execution issued pursuant to the decision rendered by
ISLANDS MAY BE SUED the Labor Arbiter against said petitioner.”

Section 1. Complaint against Government. Subject to

the provisions of this Act, the Government of the
Philippine Islands hereby consents and submits to be
sued upon any moneyed claim involving liability arising
from contract, expressed or implied, which could serve
as a basis of civil action between private parties.
Sec. 5. When the Government of the Philippine Island
is plaintiff in an action instituted in any court of original
jurisdiction, the defendant shall have the right to assert
therein, by way of set-off or counterclaim in a similar
action between private parties.

Sec. 7. Execution. No execution shall issue upon any

judgment rendered by any court against the
Government of the Philippine Islands under the
provisions of this Act; but a copy thereof duly certified
by the clerk of the Court in which judgment is rendered
shall be transmitted by such clerk to the Governor-
General (President of the PH), within five days after the
same becomes final.

Act No. 3083 gives the consent of the State to be “sued

upon any moneyed claim involving liability arising from
contract, express or implied. However, the money
claim should first be brought to the Commission on
Audit. Act 3083 stands as the general law waiving the
State’s immunity from suit, subject to its general
limitation expressed in Section 7 thereof that ‘no
execution shall issue upon any judgment rendered by
any Court against the Government of the (Philippines),
and that the conditions provided in Commonwealth
Act 327 for filing money claims against the Government
must be strictly observed.

Effect of Consent
When the state gives its consent to be sued, it does
thereby necessarily consent to unrestrained execution
against it. Tersely put, when the State waives its
immunity, all it does, in effect, is to give the other party
an opportunity to prove, if it can, that the State has a