Legally Yours,  Political Law

USA v. Guinto

182 SCRA 644FACTS:
The cases have been consolidated because they all involve the doctrine of state immunity. In GR No. 76607, private respondents regarding suing several officers of the US Air Force in connection with the bidding for barbering services in Clark Air Base. In GR No. 80018, Luis Bautista was arrested following a buy-bust operation for a violation of the Dangerous Drugs Act. Bautista then filed a complaint for damages claiming that because of the acts of the respondents, he lost his job. In GR No. 79470, Fabian Genove filed a complaint for damages against petitioner for his dismissal as cook in the US Air Force. In GR No. 80258, complaint for damage was filed by the respondents against petitioners for injuries allegedly sustained by plaintiffs. All cases invoke the doctrine of state immunity as a ground to dismiss the same.

Are the petitioners immune from suit?

It is clear that the petitioners in GR No. 80018 were acting in the exercise of their official functions. They cannot be directly impleaded for the US government has not given its consent to be sued. In GR No. 79470, petitioners are not immune because restaurants are commercial enterprises, however, the claim of damages by Genove cannot be allowed on the strength of the evidence presented. Barber shops are also commercial enterprises operated by private persons, thus, petitioners in GR No. 76607 cannot plead any immunity from the complaint filed. In GR No. 80258, the respondent court will have to receive the evidence of the alleged irregularity in the grant of the barbershop concessions before it can be known in what capacity the petitioners were acting at the time of the incident.

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