Former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo has failed in her bid for dismissal of a damage suit filed against her by 43 health workers who four years ago were suspected and detained as members of the New People’s Army (NPA).
A 12-page decision of the Special 11th Division of the Court of Appeals (CA), penned by Associate Justice Victoria Isabel Paredes, ruled that a petition for certiorari of the former leader must be dismissed.
Concurring with the ruling were Justices Isaias Dicdican and Agnes Reyes-Carpio.
Arroyo had argued that the damage suit against her is a suit against the State, not personally against her as President of the Philippines.
The CA decision gave credence to the May 10, 2012 ruling of Quezon City Regional Trial Court Judge Afable Cajigal that denied a motion to dismiss filed by the former president.
“Petitioner’s arguments that she should not be liable for damages as the alleged acts of omissions were in the performance of her official duties as President and Commander-in-Chief, the instant case is a suit against the State, and, she should not be held liable under the principle of damnum absque injuria [damage without injury]are defenses, whose validity and merits should be threshed out in a full blown trial and not in a motion to dismiss,” the court ruling said.
Arroyo was sued by the health workers, including doctors, who had banded as Morong 43, and who were arrested on February 6, 2010, by the military without an arrest warrant after attending a seminar in Morong, Rizal.
The workers were branded as communist guerrillas.
On April 27, 2011, private complainants Dr. Mercy Mia Clamor, Dr. Alexis Montes, Gary Liberal, Maria Teresa Quinawayan, Reynaldo Macabenta and Mercy Castro filed the suit for damages against National Security Adviser Norberto Gonzales and Armed Forces Chief of Staff Gen. Victor Ibrado, along with Gen. Delfin Ganbin, Gen. Jorge Segovia, Col. Cristobal Zaragosa, Col. Aurelio Balabad, Lt. Col. Jaime Abuwag, Maj. Manuel Tabion, Police Supt. Marion Balonglong and Police Supt. Allan Nubleza.
Arroyo was impleaded in the case but countered that the case must be dismissed against her because the arrest and detention of Morong 43 was made in the peformance of her duties.