ISSUE: (1) Whether or not there is a valid waiver of immunity (2) Whether or not the State is liable for damages
FACTS: Farmer-rallyists marched to Malacanang calling for a genuine land reform program. There was a marchers-police confrontation which resulted in the death of 12 rallyists and scores were wounded. As a result, then Pres. Aquino issued AO 11 creating the Citizens Mendiola Commission for the purpose of conducting an investigation. The most significant recommendation of the Commission was for the heirs of the deceased and wounded victims to be compensated by the government. Based on such recommendation, the victims of Mendiola massacre filed an action for damages against the Republic and the military/police officers involved in the incident.
RATIO DECIDENDI: The Court held that there was no valid waiver of immunity as claimed by the petitioners. The recommendation made by the Commission to indemnify the heirs of the deceased and the victims does not in any way mean that liability attaches to the State. AO 11 merely states the purpose of the creation of the Commission and, therefore, whatever is the finding of the Commission only serves as the basis for a cause of action in the event any party decides to litigate the same. Thus, the recommendation of the Commission does not in any way bind the State. The State cannot be made liable because the military/police officers who allegedly were responsible for the death and injuries suffered by the marchers acted beyond the scope of their authority. It is a settled rule that the State as a person can commit no wrong. The military and police officers who were responsible for the atrocities can be held personally liable for damages as they exceeded their authority, hence, the acts cannot be considered official.