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VIGILAR VS AQUINO

Facts:
Angelito M. Twano, petitioner, the OIC District Engr. of DPWH 2nd Engineering Di
strict of Pampanga sent an Invitation to bid to respondent Arnulfo D. Aquino (ow
ner if AD Aquino Construction and supplies). The bidding was for the constructio
n of a dike by bull-dozing a part of the Porac River.
On July 7, 1992, the project was awarded to respondent and a "Contract Agreement
" has been executed with amount of Php 1,873,790.69, to cover the project cost.
On. July 9, 1992, the project was completed. Respondent Aquino, however claimed
that Php 1,262,696.20 was still due to him, but petitioners refused to pay. He t
hen, filed a complaint fort the collection of sum of money with damages before R
TC of Guagua. Petitioners has the following contentions, that the Complaint was
a suit against the State, respondent failed to exhaust administrative remedies,
Contract of Agreement was void for violating PD 1445 (Government Auditing Code)
- appropriation and Certificate of Availability of Funds.
On November 28,2003, lower court ruled in favor of the respondent. The lower cou
rt ordered DPWH to play Aquino the amount for the completion of the project, Php
50,000 attorney's fees and cost if thus unit.
On appeal, CA reversed and set aside the decision. It said that Contract Agreeme
nt is declared null and void.
Dissatisfied with the Decision the Court of Appeals, petitioners are seeking for
the reversal of the appellate court's decision and dismissal of the Complain in
civil case
Issue:
Whether the Court of Appeals erred in not dismissing the complaint for failure o
r respondent to exhaust all administrative remedies
Whether the Court of Appeals erred in ordering the COA to allow payment to Respo
ndent on a Quantum Meruit Basis despite the latter's failure to comply with the
requirements of PD 1445
Whether state immunity from suit could be invoked by petitioners.
Held:
The one involved in the case is the validity and enforceability of the contract
of agreement which are questions purely of law and clearly beyond expertise of
COA or DPWH. The Final Decision on the matter rests not with them but with the c
ourts of justice. Exhaustion of Administrative remedies does not apply, because
nothing of an administrative nature is to be or can be done. The issue does not
require technical knowledge and experience but one that would involve the interp
retation and application of law.
Even if the contracts were void for failing to meet requirements mandated by la
w, the respondent should be compensated for services rendered and work done. In
the case of Eslao it was stated that "to deny the payment to the contractor of t
he two buildings which were are almost fully completed and presently occupied by
the university would be to allow the government to unjustly enrich itself at th
e expense of another. Justice and equity demand compensation on the basis of qua
ntum merut."
Niether, can the petitioners escape the obligation to compensate respondent for
services rendered and work done by invoking state's immunity from suit. The doct
rine of governmental immunity from suit cannot serve as an instrument for perpet
rating an injustice to a citizen. Justice and equity sternly demand that the Sta
te's cloak of invincibility against suit be shred in this particular instance an
d that the contractors be duly compensated.
WHERFORE, PETITION DENIED FOR LACK OF MERIT.