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Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Republic v. Villasor


Republic v. Villasor
G.R. No. L-30671 November 28, 1973
Fernando, J.

Facts:

                A decision was rendered in favor of respondents P. J. Kiener Co., Ltd., Gavino Unchuan, and International Construction Corporation, and against the petitioner herein, confirming the arbitration award in the amount of P1,712,396.40. Respondent Honorable Guillermo P. Villasor, issued an order declaring the aforestated decision final and executory, directing the Sheriffs of Rizal Province, Quezon City as well as Manila to execute the said decision. Pursuant to the said order, the corresponding Alias Writ of Execution was issued. On the strength of the afore-mentioned Alias Writ of Execution, the Provincial Sheriff of Rizal served notices of garnishment dated June 28, 1969 with several Banks, specially on the monies due the Armed Forces of the Philippines in the form of deposits sufficient to cover the amount mentioned in the said Writ of Execution; the Philippine Veterans Bank received the same notice of garnishment on June 30, 1969. The funds of the Armed Forces of the Philippines on deposit with the Banks, particularly, with the Philippine Veterans Bank and the Philippine National Bank or their branches are public funds duly appropriated and allocated for the payment of pensions of retirees, pay and allowances of military and civilian personnel and for maintenance and operations of the Armed Forces of the Philippines. It was alleged that respondent Judge, Honorable Guillermo P. Villasor, acted in excess of jurisdiction or with grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack of jurisdiction in granting the issuance of an alias writ of execution against the properties of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, hence, the Alias Writ of Execution and notices of garnishment issued pursuant thereto are null and void.

Issue:

                whether the garnishment suit against the AFP is a suit against the State without its consent

Held:

                Yes. The universal rule that where the State gives its consent to be sued by private parties either by general or special law, it may limit claimant’s action ‘only up to the completion of proceedings anterior to the stage of execution’ and that the power of the Courts ends when the judgment is rendered, since government funds and properties may not be seized under writs of execution or garnishment to satisfy such judgments, is based on obvious considerations of public policy. Disbursements of public funds must be covered by the corresponding appropriation as required by law. The functions and public services rendered by the State cannot be allowed to be paralyzed or disrupted by the diversion of public funds from their legitimate and specific objects, as appropriated by law. Such a principle applies even to an attempted garnishment of a salary that had accrued in favor of an employee.

                The State, by virtue of its sovereignty, may not be sued in its own courts except by express authorization by the Legislature, and to subject its officers to garnishment would be to permit indirectly what is prohibited directly. Another reason is that moneys sought to be garnished, as long as they remain in the hands of the disbursing officer of the Government, belong to the latter, although the defendant in garnishment may be entitled to a specific portion thereof.

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