Thursday, August 18, 2011

Is mandamus an appropriate remedy to enforce government contracts?

Will a petition for mandamus be the appropriate remedy to enforce contractual obligations?

Mandamus is a command issuing from a court of law of competent jurisdiction, in the name of the state or the sovereign, directed to some inferior court, tribunal, or board, or to some corporation or person requiring the performance of a particular duty therein specified, which duty results from the official station of the party to whom the writ is directed or from operation of law. This definition recognizes the public character of the remedy, and clearly excludes the idea that it may be resorted to for the purpose of enforcing the performance of duties in which the public has no interest. The writ is a proper recourse for citizens who seek to enforce a public right and to compel the performance of a public duty, most especially when the public right involved is mandated by the Constitution. As the quoted provision instructs, mandamus will lie if the tribunal, corporation, board, officer, or person unlawfully neglects the performance of an act which the law enjoins as a duty resulting from an office, trust or station. (Uy Kiao Eng vs. Nixon Lee, G.R. No. 176831, January 15, 2010)

As a universally accepted rule, mandamus never lies to enforce the performance of contractual obligations. But it has also been held that such rule was not really absolute. So long as there is a showing of a complete, well-defined and clear legal right on the part of the petitioner to the performance of ministerial acts, the same may be enforced by mandamus. (Vda. de Serra vs. Salas, 30 SCRA 541)

Thus, where government contracts are completely performed on the part of the private party, an officer of a corporation may be compelled to perform a duty imposed upon him by law, particularly when the act of said officer has the effect of setting aside contracts already in the process of consummation. In other words, mandamus will lie only to compel the performance of a ministerial duty. (Isada vs. Bocar, G.R. No. L-33535 January 17, 1975)

No comments:

Post a Comment