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HON. REGINO T. VERIDIANO II, as Presiding Judge, Branch I, Court of First Instance of Zambales, Olongapo City, ANTHONY M. ROSSI and RALPH L. WYERS, respondents.

162 SCRA 88
June 10, 1988


Private respondents Anthony Rossi and Ralph Wyers (deceased) were both employed as game room attendants in the special services department of the US Naval Station (NAVSTA). They were advised that their employment had been converted from permanent full-time to permanent part-time. Their reaction was to protect the conversion and to institute grievance proceedings. The hearing officer recommended the reinstatement of private respondents to permanent full-time status plus back wages.

In a letter addressed to petitioner Moreau, Commanding Officer of Subic Naval Base, petitioner Sanders, Special Services Director of NAVSTA, disagreed with the recommendation and asked for its rejection.

Moreau, even before the start of the grievance hearings, sent a letter to the Chief of Naval Personnel explaining the change of the private respondentโ€˜s status and requested concurrence therewith.

Private respondents filed suit for damages claiming that the letters contained libelous imputations that had exposed them to ridicule and had caused them mental anguish, and prejudgment of the grievance proceedings was an invasion of their personal and proprietary rights. They make it clear that petitioners were being sued in their personal capacity. A motion to dismiss on the ground of lack of jurisdiction was filed by the petitioner and was denied.


Were the petitioners performing their official duties when they did the acts for which they are being sued for damages?


YES. It is clear in the present case that the acts for which the petitioners are being called to account were performed by them in the discharge of their official duties. Sanders as director of the special services department of NAVSTA, undoubtedly had supervision over its personnel including the private respondents and had a hand in their employment, work, assignments, discipline, dismissal and other related matters. The act of Moreau is deadly official in nature, performed by him as the immediate superior of Sanders and directly answerable to Naval Personnel in matters involving the special department of NAVSTA.

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