FACTS: The testimony of the plaintiff disclosed that he is an Iranian national. He came to the Philippines to study in the University of the Philippines in 1974. In 1976, under the regime of the Shah of Iran, he was appointed Labor Attach for the Iranian Embassies in Tokyo, Japan and Manila, Philippines. When the Shah of Iran was deposed by Ayatollah Khomeini, plaintiff became a refugee of the United Nations and continued to stay in the Philippines. He headed the Iranian National Resistance Movement in the Philippines. He came to know the defendant on May 13, 1986, when the latter was brought to his house and introduced to him by a certain Jose Iigo, an informer of the Intelligence Unit of the military. During his first meeting with the defendant on May 13, 1986, upon the introduction of Jose Iigo, the defendant expressed his interest in buying caviar. As a matter of fact, he bought two kilos of caviar from plaintiff and paid P10,000.00 for it. During their introduction in that meeting, the defendant gave the plaintiff his calling card, which showed that he is working at the US Embassy in the Philippines, as a special agent of the Drug Enforcement Administration, Department of Justice, of the United States, and gave his address as US Embassy, Manila.
On May 26, 1986, defendant visited plaintiff again at the latter’s residence for 18 years at Kapitolyo, Pasig. The defendant wanted to buy a pair of carpets which plaintiff valued at $27,900.00. After some haggling, they agreed at $24,000.00. At about 3:00 in the afternoon of May 27, 1986, the defendant came back again to plaintiff’s house and directly proceeded to the latter’s bedroom, where the latter and his countryman, Abbas Torabian, were playing chess. The defendant told him that he would be leaving the Philippines very soon and requested him to come out of the house for a while so that he can introduce him to his cousin waiting in a cab. Without much ado, and without putting on his shirt as he was only in his pajama pants, he followed the defendant where he saw a parked cab opposite the street. To his complete surprise, an American jumped out of the cab with a drawn high-powered gun. He was in the company of about 30 to 40 Filipino soldiers with 6 Americans, all armed. He was handcuffed and after about 20 minutes in the street, he was brought inside the house by the defendant. He was made to sit down while in handcuffs while the defendant was inside his bedroom. He asked for any warrant, but the defendant told him to `shut up. He was nevertheless told that he would be able to call for his lawyer who can defend him.
The plaintiff took note of the fact that when the defendant invited him to come out to meet his cousin, his safe was opened where he kept the $24,000.00 the defendant paid for the carpets and another $8,000.00 which he also placed in the safe together with a bracelet worth $15,000.00 and a pair of earrings worth $10,000.00. He also discovered missing upon his release his 8 pieces hand-made Persian carpets, valued at $65,000.00, a painting he bought for P30,000.00 together with his TV and betamax sets. He claimed that when he was handcuffed, the defendant took his keys from his wallet. There was, therefore, nothing left in his house.
After the arrest made on plaintiff and Torabian, they were brought to Camp Crame handcuffed together, where they were detained for three days without food and water.
Minucher was aquitted by the RTC for the charges against him. He then filed a civil case against Scalzo but Scalzo invoked the doctrine of state immunity since he was acting in behalf of the united states in apprehending persons suspected of transporting illegal drugs to the U.S.
ISSUE: WON scalzo is acting in behalf of U.S. and therefore immune from suit.
HELD: YES. According to the Court, a foreign agent, operating within a territory, can be cloaked with immunity from suit but only as long as it can be established that he is acting within the directives of the sending state. The consent of the host state is an indispensable requirement of basic courtesy between the two sovereigns. The official exchanges of communication between agencies of the government of the two countries, certifications from officials of both the Philippine Department of Foreign Affairs and the United States Embassy, as well as the participation of members of the Philippine Narcotics Command in the “buy-bust operation” conducted at the residence of Minucher at the behest of Scalzo, may be inadequate to support the “diplomatic status” of the latter, but they give enough indication that the Philippine government has given its imprimatur, if not consent, to the activities within Philippine territory of agent Scalzo of the United States Drug Enforcement Agency. The job description of Scalzo has tasked him to conduct surveillance on suspected drug suppliers and, after having ascertained the target, to inform local law enforcers who would then be expected to make the arrest. In conducting surveillance activities on Minucher, later acting as the poseur-buyer during the buy-bust operation, and then becoming a principal witness in the criminal case against Minucher, Scalzo hardly can be said to have acted beyond the scope of his official function or duties. All told, this Court is constrained to rule that respondent Arthur Scalzo, an agent of the United States Drug Enforcement Agency allowed by the Philippine government to conduct activities in the country to help contain the problem on the drug traffic, is entitled to the defense of state immunity from suit.