DELA VICTORIA V. BURGOS
245 SCRA 374
FACTS:Sesbreno filed a case against Mabanto Jr. among other people wherein the court decided in favor of the plaintiff, ordering the defendants to pay former a definite amount of cash. The decision had become final and executory and a writ of execution was issued. This was questioned in the CA by the defendants. In the meanwhile, a notice of garnishment was issued to petitioner who was then the City Fiscal. She was asked to withhold any check or whatnot in favor of Mabanto Jr. The CA then dismissed the defendant’s petition and the garnishment was commenced only to find out that petitioner didn't follow instructions of sheriff. She is now being held liable.
HELD:Garnishment is considered as the species of attachment for reaching credits belonging to the judgment debtor owing to him from a stranger in litigation. Emphasis is laid on the phrase belonging to the judgment debtor since it is the focal point of resolving the issues raised.
As Assistant City Fiscal, the source of Mabanto’s salary is public funds. Under Section 16 of the NIL, every contract on a negotiable instrument is incomplete and revocable until delivery of the instrument for the purpose of giving effect thereto. As ordinarily understood, delivery means the transfer of the possession of the instrument by the maker or drawer with intent to transfer title to the payee and recognize him as the holder thereof.
The petitioner is the custodian of the checks. Inasmuch as said checks were in the custody of the petitioner and not yet delivered to Mabanto, they didn't belong to him and still had the character of public funds. The salary check of a government officer or employee doesn't belong to him
before it has been physically delivered to him. Until that time the check belongs to the government. Accordingly, before there is actual delivery of the check, the payee has no power over it, he cannot assign it without the consent of the government.
*If public funds would be allowed to be garnished, then basic services of the government may be hampered.