Legally Yours,  Political Law

Festejo v. Fernando

Constitutional Law. Political Law. Doctrine of State Immunity.
FESTEJO v. FERNANDO
GR No. L-5156; March 11, 1954

FACTS:
The defendant, as Director of the Bureau of Public Works, took possession of the three parcels of land on February 1951 without obtaining first a right of way, without consent and knowledge of plaintiff, and against her express objection. The petitioner demands that the lands be restored to its former condition and the defendant to pay the plaintiff the sum of P19, 343.20 for the unlawful taking possession of the defendant.

ISSUE:
Is the defendant liable for the unlawful possession of the lands?

HELD:
The evidence and conceded facts permitted the jury in finding that in the trespass on plaintiff’s land, the defendant committed acts outside the scope of his authority. There can be no claim that he thus invaded plaintiff’s land southeasterly of the right of way innocently for the surveys clearly marked the limits of the land appropriated for the right of way. It is a general rule that an officer-executive, administrative, quasi-judicial, ministerial, or otherwise who acts outside the scope of his jurisdiction and without authorization of law may thereby render himself amenable to personal liability in a civil suit. He cannot shelter himself by the plea that he is a public agent acting under the color of his office and not personally.

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