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Garcia vs. Armed Forces of the Philippines, et al.

No. L-20213. January 31, 1966.

MARIANO E. GARCIA, plaintiff and appellant, vs. THE

defendants and appellees.

Actions; Money claim against tiie government should be filed

with the Auditor General.—A claim for the recovery of money
against the government should be filed with the Auditor General,
in line with the principle thai the State cannot be sued without its
consent. (New Manila Lumber Co. vs. Republic, L-14248, April 28,

APPEAL from an order of dismissal of the Court of First

Instance of Pangasinan.

The facts are stated in the opinion of the Court.

     Tiangco & Millosa for the plaintiff and appellant.
     Solicitor General for the defendants and appellees.


This is an appeal from an order of dismissal.

It appears that on December 1, 1961, the plaintiff-
appellant, Mariano E. Garcia, filed with the Court of First
Instance of Pangasinan an action to collect a sum of money
against the Chief of Staff and the Adjutant Gen-

VOL. 16, JANUARY 31, 1966 121

Garcia vs. Armed Forces of the Philippines, et al.

eral of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, the Chairman

of the Philippine Veterans Board and/or the Auditor
General. The complaint alleged: that sometime in July,
1948, the plaintiff suffered injuries while undergoing the
10-month military training at Camp Floridablanca,
Pampanga; that sometime thereafter he filed his claim
under Commonwealth Act 400 and in April, 1957, he
submitted some papers in support of his claim to the
Adjutant General’s Office upon the latter’s request; that on
May 22, 1957, he received a letter from the said Adjutant
General’s Office disallowing his claim for disability
benefits; that on November 24,1958, after further demands
of the plaintiff, the Adjutant General’s Office denied the
said claim, alleging that Commonwealth Act 400 had
already been repealed by Republic Act 610 which took
effect on January 1, 1950; that by reason of the injuries
suffered by plaintiff he was deprived of his sight or vision
rendering him permanently disabled; and that by reason of
the unjustified refusal by defendants of plaintiff’s claim,
the latter was deprived of his disability pension from July,
1948 totalling no less than P4,000 at the rate of P20 a
month and suffered thereby moral damages and attorney’s
fees the amount of P2,000.00.
The Philippine Veterans Administration and the Chief
of Staff of the Armed Forces filed separate motions to
dismiss the complaint on the grounds that the court has no
jurisdiction over the subject matter of the complaint; that
the plaintiff failed to exhaust all administrative remedies
before coming to court; that the complaint states no cause
of action; and that the cause of action is barred by the
statute of limitations.
Acting on the said motion, the court, on March 2, 1962,
rendered an order dismissing the complaint on the ground
that the action has prescribed.
Motion for reconsideration of the said order having been
denied, the plaintiff has interposed this appeal.
Without need of discussing the various questions raised,
We have to uphold the order of dismissal, not necessarily
on the same ground as found by the lower court; but for the
simple reason that the Court of First Instance has



Garcia vs. Armed Forces of the Philippines, et al.

no jurisdiction over the subject matter, it being a money

claim against the government.
This Court has already held (New Manila Lumber Co.
Inc. vs. Republic, G.R. No. L-14248, April 28, 1960) that a
claim for the recovery of money against the government
should be filed with the Auditor General, in line with the
principle that the State cannot be sued without its consent.
Commonwealth Act 327 provides:

“SECTION 1. In all cases involving the settlement of accounts or

claims, other than those of accountable officers, the Auditor
General shall act and decide the same within sixty dayb, exclusive
of Sundays and holidays, after their presentation, x x x.
“SEC. 2. The party aggrieved by the final decision of the
Auditor General in the settlement of an account or claim may,
within thirty days from receipt of the decision, take an appeal in
x           x           x           x           x
(c) To the Supreme Court of the Philippines, if the appellant is
a private person or entity.

The well established rule that no recourse to court can be

had until all administrative remedies had boon exhausted
and that actions against administrative officers should not
be entertained if superior administrative officers could
grant relief is squarely applicable to the present case.
In view therefor, the order dismissing the complaint is
hereby affirmed, without pronouncement as to costs.

     Chief Justice Bengzon and Justices Bautista Angelo,

Concepcion, J.B.L. Reyes, Barrera, Dizon, J.P. Bengzon and
Zaldivar, concur. Mr. Justice Makalintal took no part.

Order affirmed.

Notes.—Suits against the State.——The State cannot

be sued without its consent (Metropolitan Transportation
Service vs. Paredes, 79 Phil. 819).
A suit against the State, involving disbursement of
funds, is not maintainable without its consent. A writ of
prohibition lies against a court entertaining such an action.
(Treasurer of the Philippines vs. Encarnacion, 93 Phil. 610).

VOL. 16, JANUARY 31, 1966 123

Alarcon, et al. vs. Esteva, et al.

Where the action is only to compel the officials of the

Bureau of Public Works to release the amount claimed as
unpaid wages of laborers from the funds already set aside
and retained for that purpose, the same is not a suit
against the Government (Moreno vs. Macadaeg, L-17908,
April 23, 1963).
If the State, or its government, enters into a contract, it
may be sued because by entering into a contract it has
descended to the level of the citizen. Its consent to be sued
is implied from the very act of entering into such’a contract.
(Santos vs. Santos, 92 Phil. 281).


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