Rayo vs. CFI of Bulacan
GAUDENCIO RAYO, et al., petitioners,
COURT OF FIRST INSTANCE OF BULACAN, BRANCH V, STA. MARIA, and NATIONAL POWER CORPORATION, respondents.
110 SCRA 460
December 19, 1981
During the height of the infamous typhoon Kading, the NPC, acting through its plant superintendent, Benjamin Chavez, opened or caused to be opened simultaneously all the three floodgates of the Angat Dam. The many unfortunate victims of the man-caused flood filed with the respondent court eleven complaints for damages against the NPC and Benjamin
Chavez. NPC filed separate answers to each of the eleven complaints and invoked in each answer a special and affirmative defense that in the operation of the Angat Dam, it is performing a purely governmental function. Hence, it cannot be sued without the express consent of the State. The respondent court dismissed the case on the grounds that said defendant performs a purely governmental function in the operation of the Angat Dam and cannot therefore be sued for damages in the instant cases in connection therewith.
Was the NPC performing a governmental function with respect to the management and operation of the Angat Dam?
YES. However, it is not necessary to determine whether NPC performs a governmental function with respect to the management and operation of the Angat Dam. It is sufficient to say that the government has organized a private corporation, put money in it and has allowed itself to sue and be sued in any court under its charter. As a government owned and controlled corporation, it has personality of its own, distinct and separate from that of the government. Moreover, the charter provision that the NPC can sue and be sued in any court is without qualification on the cause of action as the one instituted by the petitioners.
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