ISSUE: Whether or not the complaint filed against the petitioner is in reality a complaint against the State, which could not prosper without the State’s consent
FACTS: Private respondents General Assembly of the Blind, Inc. (GABI) and Jose Iglesias were allegedly awarded a verbal contract of lease in 1970 to occupy a portion of Rizal Park by the National Parks Development Committee (NPDC), a government initiated civic body engaged in the development of national parks. Private respondents were allegedly given office and library space as well as kiosks area selling food and drinks. Private respondent GABI was to remit to NPDC 40% of the profits derived from operating the kiosks. After the EDSA Revolution, petitioner Lansang, the new Chairman of the NPDC, sought to clean up Rizal Park. Petitioner terminated the so-called verbal agreement with GABI and demanded that the latter vacate the premises and the kiosks it ran privately within the public park. On the day of the supposed eviction, GABI filed an action for damages and injunction against petitioner.
RATIO DECIDENDI: The doctrine of state immunity from suit applies to complaints filed against public officials for acts done in the performance of their duties. The rule is that the suit must be regarded as one against the state where satisfaction of the judgment against the public official concerned will require the state itself to perform a positive act, such as appropriation of the amount necessary to pay the damages awarded to the plaintiff. The rule does not apply where the public official is charged in his official capacity for acts that are unlawful and injurious to the rights of others. Public officials are not exempt, in their personal capacity, from liability arising from acts committed in bad faith. Neither does its apply where the public official is clearly being sued not in his official capacity but in his personal capacity, although the acts complained of may have been committed while he occupied a public position. In the case, the petitioner is being sued not in his capacity as NPDC chairman but in his personal capacity. It is also evident the petitioner is sued allegedly for having personal motives in ordering the ejectment of GABI from Rizal Park. The important question to consider is whether or not petitioner abused his authority in ordering the ejectment of GABI. The Court found no evidence of such abuse of authority. Rizal Park is beyond the commerce of man and, thus, could not be the subject of lease contract. That private respondents were allowed to occupy office and kiosk spaces in the park was only a matter of accommodation by the previous administrator. This being so, petitioner may validly discontinue the accommodation extended to private respondents, who may be ejected from the park when necessary. Private respondents cannot and do not claim a vested right to continue to occupy Rizal Park