L-30671 November 28, 1973

Facts: On July 7, 1969, a decision was rendered in Special Proceedings No. 2156-R infavor of respondents P.J. Kiener Co., Ltd., Gavino Unchuan, and InternationalConstruction Corporation and against petitioner confirming the arbitration award in theamount of P1,712,396.40.The award is for the satisfaction of a judgment against thePhlippine Government. On June 24, 1969, respondent Honorable Guillermo Villasor issued an Orderdeclaring the decision final and executory.Villasor directed the Sheriffs of RizalProvince, Quezon City as well as Manila to execute said decision.The Provincial Sheriffof Rizal served Notices of Garnishment with several Banks, specially on PhilippineVeterans Bank and PNB. The funds of the Armed Forces of the Philippines on deposit with PhilippineVeterans Bank and PNB are public funds duly appropriated and allocated for thepayment of pensions of retirees, pay and allowances of military and civilian personneland for maintenance and operations of the AFP. Petitioner, on certiorari, filed prohibition proceedings against respondent JudgeVillasor for acting in excess of jurisdiction with grave abuse of discretion amounting tolack of jurisdiction in granting the issuance of a Writ of Execution against the propertiesof the AFP, hence the notices and garnishment are null and void. Issue: Is the Writ of Execution issued by Judge Villasor valid? Held: What was done by respondent Judge is not in conformity with the dictates of theConstitution.It is a fundamental postulate of constitutionalism flowing from the juristicconcept of sovereignty that the state as well as its government is immune from suitunless it gives its consent.A sovereign is exempt from suit, not because of any formalconception or obsolete theory, but on the logical and practical ground that there can beno legal right as against the authority that makes the law on which the right depends. The State may not be sued without its consent. A corollary, both dictated by logicand sound sense from a basic concept is that public funds cannot be the object of agarnishment proceeding even if the consent to be sued had been previously granted andthe state liability adjudged.The universal rule that where the State gives its consent tobe sued by private parties either by general or special law, it may limit claimant’s actiononly up to the completion of proceedings anterior to the stage of execution and that thepower of the Courts ends when the judgment is rendered, since the government fundsand properties may not be seized under writs of execution or garnishment to satisfy suchjudgments, is based on obvious considerations of public policy.Disbursements of publicfunds must be covered by the corresponding appropriation as required by law.Thefunctions and public services rendered by the State cannot be allowed to be paralyzedor disrupted by the diversion of public funds from their legitimate and specific objects, asappropriated by law.

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