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The Holy See vs. Rosario Jr.

233 SCRA 524

This petition arose from a controversy over a parcel of land consisting of 6,000 square
meters located in the Municipality of Paranaque. Said lot was contiguous with two other
lots. These lots were sold to Ramon Licup. In view of the refusal of the squatters to vacate
the lots sold, a dispute arose as to who of the parties has the responsibility of evicting and
clearing the land of squatters. Complicating the relations of the parties was the sale by
petitioner of the lot of concern to Tropicana.
Whether the Holy See is immune from suit insofar as its business relations regarding selling
a lot to a private entity
As expressed in Section 2 of Article II of the 1987 Constitution, we have adopted the
generally accepted principles of International Law. Even without this affirmation, such
principles of International Law are deemed incorporated as part of the law of the land as a
condition and consequence of our admission in the society of nations. In the present case, if
petitioner has bought and sold lands in the ordinary course of real estate business, surely
the said transaction can be categorized as an act jure gestionis. However, petitioner has
denied that the acquisition and subsequent disposal of the lot were made for profit but
claimed that it acquired said property for the site of its mission or the Apostolic Nunciature
in the Philippines.
The Holy See is immune from suit for the act of selling the lot of concern is non-proprietary
in nature. The lot was acquired by petitioner as a donation from the Archdiocese of Manila.
The donation was made not for commercial purpose, but for the use of petitioner to
construct thereon the official place of residence of the Papal Nuncio. The decision to transfer
the property and the subsequent disposal thereof are likewise clothed with a governmental
character. Petitioner did not sell the lot for profit or gain. It merely wanted to dispose of the
same because the squatters living thereon made it almost impossible for petitioner to use it
for the purpose of the donation.