Private respondent Raul Sesbreño sought judgment in his favor and against Assistant City Fiscals Bienvenido N. Mabanto, Jr., and Dario D. Rama, Jr., before the RTC. The decision having become final and executory, on motion of Sesbreño, the trial court ordered its execution. A notice of garnishment was served on petitioner Loreto de la Victoria as City Fiscal of Mandaue City where defendant Mabanto, Jr., was then detailed. The notice directed petitioner not to disburse, transfer, release or convey to any other person except to the deputy sheriff concerned the salary checks or other checks, monies, or cash due or belonging to Mabanto, Jr., under penalty of law. Petitioner moved to quash the notice of garnishment claiming that he was not in possession of any money, funds, credit, property or anything of value belonging to Mabanto, Jr., except his salary and RATA checks, but that said checks were not yet properties of Mabanto, Jr., until delivered to him.
Whether or not petitioner may be compelled to cause the garnishments of Mabanto’ Jr.’s salary and RATA checks.
NO. Garnishment is considered as a species of attachment for reaching credits belonging to the judgment debtor owing to him from a stranger to the litigation.Emphasis is laid on the phrase “belonging to the judgment debtor” since it is the focal point in resolving the issues raised. The source of the salary of Mabanto, Jr., is public funds. Salary and RATA checks were not owned by Mabanto, Jr., because they were not yet delivered to him, and that petitioner as garnishee has no legal obligation to hold and deliver them to the trial court to be applied to Mabanto, Jr.’s judgment debt. The salary and RATA checks still formed part of public funds and therefore beyond the reach of garnishment proceedings. As a necessary consequence of being public fund, the checks may not be garnished to satisfy the judgment.The rationale behind this doctrine is obvious consideration of public policy.