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G.R. No. L-30671

November 28, 1973

PONENTE: Justice Fernando

TOPIC: The State may not be sued without its consent.
Facts: On July 7, 1969, a decision was rendered in Special Proceedings No. 2156-R in
favor of respondents P.J. Kiener Co., Ltd., Gavino Unchuan, and International Construction
Corporation and against petitioner confirming the arbitration award in the amount of P1,
712,396.40.The award is for the satisfaction of a judgment against the Philippine
Government. On June 24, 1969, respondent Honorable Guillermo Villasor issued an Order
declaring the decision final and executory. Villasor directed the Sheriffs of Rizal Province,
Quezon City as well as Manila to execute said decision. The Provincial Sheriff of Rizal
served Notices of Garnishment with several Banks, especially on Philippine Veterans Bank
and PNB. The funds of the Armed Forces of the Philippines on deposit with Philippine
Veterans Bank and PNB 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 AFP. Petitioner, on certiorari, filed prohibition proceedings
against respondent Judge Villasor for acting in excess of jurisdiction with grave abuse of
discretion amounting to lack of jurisdiction in granting the issuance of a Writ of Execution
against the properties of 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 the
Constitution. It is a fundamental postulate of constitutionalism flowing from the juristic
concept of sovereignty that the state as well as its government is immune from suit unless it
gives its consent. A sovereign is exempt from suit, not because of any formal conception or
obsolete theory, but on the logical and practical ground that there can be no 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 logic and sound sense from a basic
concept is that public funds cannot be the object of a garnishment proceeding even if the
consent to be sued had been previously granted and the state liability adjudged. 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 claimants 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 the 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.