(Question XX, Political Law, 2018 Bar Exam)
Andreas and Aristotle are foreign nationals working with the Asian Development Bank (ADS) in its headquarters in Manila. Both were charged with criminal acts before the local trial courts.
Andreas was caught importing illegal drugs into the country as part of his “personal effects” and was thus charged with violation of Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002. Before the criminal proceedings could commence, the President had him deported as an undesirable alien. Aristotle was charged with grave oral defamation for uttering defamatory words against a colleague at work. In his defense, Aristotle claimed diplomatic immunity. He presented as proof a communication from the Department of Foreign Affairs stating that, pursuant to the Agreement between the Philippine Government and the ADS, the bank’s officers and staff are immune from legal processes with respect to acts performed by them in their official capacity.
(a) Can the President’s act of deporting an undesirable alien be subject to judicial review? (2.5%)
(b) Is Aristotle’s claim of diplomatic immunity proper? (2.5%)
(a) Yes. Under the 1987 Constitution and jurisprudence, courts may review the President’s act of deporting an undesirable alien via the power of judicial review. Although the courts are without power to directly decide matters over which full discretionary authority has been delegated to the legislative or executive branch of the government and are not empowered to execute absolutely their own judgment from that of Congress or of the President, the Court may look into and resolve questions of whether or not such judgment has been made with grave abuse of discretion, when the act of the legislative or executive department is contrary to the Constitution, the law or jurisprudence, or when executed whimsically, capriciously or arbitrarily out of malice, ill will or personal bias. Rule
(b) No. Answer
Under jurisprudence, the immunity granted to officers and staff of the Asian Development Bank is not absolute; it is limited to acts performed in an official capacity. Furthermore, the immunity cannot cover the commission of a crime such as slander or oral defamation in the name of official duty. Rule
In the case at bar, Aristotle was charged with grave oral defamation, which act is not connected to the performance of his official duties. Apply
Thus, Aristotle’s claim of diplomatic immunity is not proper. Conclusion
(Notice: The suggested answers simulate those that a bar examinee may provide, and thus specific citations are not provided. Notwithstanding, in the reviewers, the bar exam question is answered under the appropriate topic which discusses the concepts and principles, as well as provide for specific citations. Accordingly, please refer to it on the reviewer or in the Library.)
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