Minucher v. CA | Sovereign Immunity

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Minucher v. CA
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  Minucher v. CA004 G.R. No. 142396, February 11, 2003, Vitu, !. Digested by Fonzyã Law 111 – PILTopic: Immunity from Jurisdiction  Minucher was charged with a criminal case    following a “buy-bust operation” conducted by the Philippine policenarcotic agents with the help of defendant Scalzo, an attach é   of the US. Minucher was acquitted. He then filed acivil case against Scalzo, where Scalzo filed a MTD invoked immunity from suit being an Agent of the US. The court held that, Scalzo was acting as an agent within the scope of his duties when he participated in the operationtherefore the doctrine on Immunity from Jurisdiction of another state applies. FAC#$   !osrow inuc!er is an Iranian nationa# and a Labor $ttac!% for t!e Iranian &mbassiesin To'yo( Japan and ani#a came to t!e country to study in 1)*+ and continued to stayas !ead of t!e Iranian ,ationa# -esistance o.ement/   In ay 1)0( inuc!er was c!arged wit! an Information for .io#ation Dangerous Drugs $ct of 1)*2/ T!e crimina# c!arge was made fo##owing a 3buy4bust operation5 conductedby t!e P!i#ippine po#ice narcotic agents in !is !ouse w!ere a 6uantity of !eroin was saidto !a.e been seized/ o T!e narcotic agents were accompanied by pri.ate respondent $rt!ur 7ca#zo w!obecame one of t!e principa# witnesses for t!e prosecution/ 7ca#zo was an agentof t!e Drug &nforcement $dministration of t!e 87$( became ac6uainted wit! inuc!er t!roug! a series of transactions w!ere 9a#zo boug! from t!e #atter(Iranian goods #i'e carpet( si#' and ca.iar/ inuc!er was ac6uitted in t!e crimina#c!arge/   In $ugust 1)00( inuc!er fi#ed a 9i.i# 9ase before t!e -T9 for damages on t!etrumped4up; c!arges of drug traffic'ing made by $rt!ur 7ca#zo/ o  $fter a#most   two years since t!e institution of t!e ci.i# case( 7ca#zo fi#ed a motionto dismiss t!e comp#aint on t!e ground t!at( being a specia# agent of t!e 8nited7tates Drug &nforcement $dministration( !e was entit#ed to dip#omatic immunity/T!is TD was subse6uent#y denied by t!e 79/   <ac' to t!e tria#( t!e -T9 decided against 7ca#zo and ru#ed t!at !e s!ou#d be !e#daccountab#e for t!e acts comp#ained of committed outside !is officia# duties/ T!is wasre.ersed by t!e 9$ and ru#ed t!at 7ca#zo was sufficient#y c#ot!ed wit! dip#omaticimmunity during !is term of duty and t!ereby immune from t!e crimina# and ci.i# =urisdiction of t!e -ecei.ing 7tate pursuant to t!e terms of t!e >ienna 9on.ention/ inuc!er appea#ed/ %$$&'$ ( )*+%NG ?@, $rt!ur 7ca#zo is entit#ed to dip#omatic immunityA Bes( 7ca#zo was acting as an agent wit!in t!e scope of !is duties w!en !e participated in t!e operation and #ater on became t!e principa# witness against inuc!er/ RA#%*  @n#y 3dip#omatic agents(5 are .ested wit! b#an'et dip#omatic immunity from ci.i# and crimina#suits/ T!e main yardstic' in ascertaining w!et!er a person is a dip#omat entit#ed to immunity ist!e determination of w!et!er or not !e performs duties of dip#omatic nature/ 7ca#zo submittedt!at !e was an $ttac!e/ $ttac!es assist a c!ief of mission in !is duties and are administrati.e#yunder !im( but an $ttac!e;s main function is usua##y to obser.e( ana#yze and interpret trendsand de.e#opments in t!eir respecti.e fie#ds in t!e !ost country and submit reports to t!eir ownministries or departments in t!e !ome go.ernment/ $ttac!es not genera##y regarded as amember of t!e dip#omatic mission/ Cowe.er( under t!e re#ated doctrine of 7tate Immunity from 7uit( if t!e acts gi.ing rise to a suitare t!ose of a foreign go.ernment done by its foreign agent( a#t!oug! not necessari#y adip#omatic personage( but acting in !is officia# capacity( t!e comp#aint cou#d be barred by t!eimmunity of t!e foreign so.ereign from suit wit!out its consent/ 7uing a representati.e of a stateis be#ie.ed to be( in effect( suing t!e state itse#f/ $ foreign agent( operating wit!in a territory( can be c#oa'ed wit! immunity from suit but on#y as#ong as it can be estab#is!ed t!at !e is acting wit!in t!e directi.es of t!e sending stat/ To app#yt!is ru#e( t!e consent of t!e !ost state is an indispensab#e re6uirement of basic courtesybetween t!e two so.ereigns/ In t!is case( w!i#e e.idence is wanting to s!ow any agreementt!at is more teEtua# and direct simi#ar to t!e -P4 87 bases agreement between t!ego.ernments of t!e P!i#ippines and of t!e 8nited 7tates for t!e #atter to send its agents and toconduct sur.ei##ance and re#ated acti.ities of suspected drug dea#ers in t!e P!i#ippines( t!e3buy4bust operation5 and ot!er suc! acts are indication t!at t!e P!i#ippine go.ernment !as gi.enits imprimatur( if not consent( to t!e acti.ities wit!in P!i#ippine territory of agent 7ca#zo of t!e8nited 7tates Drug &nforcement $gency t!roug! t!e officia# eEc!anges of communicationbetween agencies of t!e go.ernment of t!e two countriesG 9ertifications from officia#s of bot!t!e P!i#ippine Department of Foreign $ffairs and t!e 8nited 7tates &mbassy andG t!eparticipation of members of t!e P!i#ippine ,arcotics 9ommand in t!e 3buy4bust operation5conducted at t!e residence of inuc!er at t!e be!est of 7ca#zoT!e =ob description of 7ca#zo !as tas'ed !im to conduct sur.ei##ance on suspected drugsupp#iers and( after !a.ing ascertained t!e target( to inform #oca# #aw enforcers w!o wou#d t!enbe eEpected to ma'e t!e arrest/ In conducting sur.ei##ance acti.ities on inuc!er( #ater acting ast!e poseur4buyer during t!e buy4bust operation( and t!en becoming a principa# witness in t!ecrimina# case against inuc!er( 7ca#zo !ard#y can be said to !a.e acted beyond t!e scope of !is officia# function or duties/ %$-*$%#%*N Petition D&,I&D/
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