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17.

Liang vs People

Topic: Immunity from Suit

FACTS:

Petitioner Jeffrey Liang was working for the Asian Development Bank (ADB).
In 1994, he was arrested and charged with two (2) counts of oral defamation
for allegedly uttering defamatory words against a fellow ADB employee.

The MTC judge handling the case received an Office of Protocol


communication from the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) stating that
petitioner is covered by immunity from legal process under Section 45 of the
Agreement between ADB and the Philippine government. Based on the
protocol communication, the judge dismissed the criminal cases.

The prosecution filed for a petition for certiorari and mandamus with the RTC
of Pasig City which set aside the rulings of the MTC and ordered the MTC to
enforce the warrant of arrest it earlier issued.

Petitioner elevated the case to the SC, arguing that he is immune from suit
based on the Agreement between ADB and the Philippine Government.

ISSUE:

W/N petitioner is immune from suit?

HELD:

No, he is not.

The Court held that the immunity under Section 45 of the Agreement is not
absolute, but subject to the exception that the acts must be done in
official capacity. Hence, slandering a person could not possibly be
covered by the immunity agreement because our laws do not allow the
commission of a crime, such as defamation, in the name of official duty.