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University of the Philippines College of Law

Constitutional Law 1 | Professor Charlemagne Yu


Case Digest
TOPIC: The SC > Jurisdiction > Reversal of Legal Doctrine
DOCTRINE: Art VIII Sec 4(3) xxx no doctrine or principle of law laid down by the
court in a decision rendered en banc or in division may be modified or reversed
except by the court sitting en banc.
CASE Number (including date): G.R. No. 167741; July 12, 2007
CASE Name: Republic vs Garcia
Ponente: Corona, J.
FACTS
Petition for certiorari on two Sandiganbayan resolutions
The Republic filed against Maj. Gen. Garcia and his family a petition for
forfeiture of unlawfully acquired properties, with a verified urgent ex-parte
application for the issuance of a writ of preliminary attachment
The Republic said that it being a sovereign political entity, it was
exempt from filing the said attachment bond
(Attachment bond is a bond given by a defendant in order to have an
attachment released that ensures payment of a judgment awarded to the
plaintiff. It is a bond required of a plaintiff seeking an attachment, conditioned
to pay the costs and damages which the defendant may sustain in the event
the plaintiff loses the suit.)
Sandiganbayan issued a resolution ordering the issuance of a writ of
preliminary attachment against the properties of the Garcias upon the filing
by the Republic of a P1 million attachment bond; Republic paid the P1 million
to avoid delay
Republic then filed a motion for partial reconsideration, saying again
that they were exempt from filing the attachment bond
Sandiganbayan denied it twice by reason of a.) there was nothing in
the rules of court that said the Republic was exempt, and b.) a re-examination
of Tolentino vs. Carlos (a case the Republic invoked which was decided over a
century ago under the Old Civil Code)
Hence, this petition
ISSUES
1.
Whether or not the Sandiganbayan committed a grave abuse of
discretion when it rejected the Republics claim of exemption from the
filing of an attachment bond?
HELD (including the Ratio Decidendi)

(1) Yes: Under [Secs 3 and 4 of Rule 57 of Rules of Court], before a writ of
attachment may issue, a bond must first be filed to answer for all costs which may
be adjudged to the adverse party and for the damages he may sustain by reason of

the attachment. However, this rule does not cover the State. In Tolentino,[7]this
Court declared that the State as represented by the government is exempt
from filing an attachment bond on the theory that it is always solvent
(meaning, the State is always able to carry out its obligations)
2. Section 427 of the Code of Civil Procedure provides that before
the issuance of a writ of attachment, the applicant therefor or any
person in his name, should file a bond in favor of the defendant for an
amount not less than P400 nor more than the amount of the claim,
answerable for damages in case it is shown that the attachment was
obtained illegally or without sufficient cause; but in the case at bar
the one who applied for and obtained the attachment is the
Commonwealth of the Philippines, as plaintiff, and under the
theory that the State is always solvent it was not bound to
post the required bond and the respondent judge did not exceed
his jurisdiction in exempting it from such requirement. x x x [8]
(emphasis supplied)
The Sandiganbayan thus erred when it disregarded the
foregoing presumption and instead ruled that the Republic should file
an attachment bond. The error was not simply an error of judgment
but grave abuse of discretion.
There is grave abuse of discretion when an act is done
contrary to the Constitution, the law or jurisprudenceHere, the
Sandiganbayans January 14, 2005 resolution was clearly contrary to
Tolentino.
Worse, the Sandiganbayan transgressed the Constitution and
arrogated upon itself a power that it did not by law possess. All courts
must take their bearings from the decisions and rulings of this Court.
Tolentino has not been superseded or reversed. Thus, it is existing
jurisprudence and continues to form an important part of our legal
system. Surprisingly, the Sandiganbayan declared that
Tolentino need(ed) to be carefully reexamined in the light of
the changes that the rule on attachment ha(d) undergone
through the years.
Art VIII Sec 4(3) xxx no doctrine or principle of law laid down by
the court in a decision rendered en banc or in division may be
modified or reversed except by the court sitting en banc.

RULING:
Accordingly, the petition is hereby GRANTED. The January 14, 2005 and March 2,
2005 resolutions of the Sandiganbayan are REVERSED and SET ASIDE. The
Republic of the Philippines is declared exempt from the payment or filing of an
attachment bond for the issuance of a writ of preliminary attachment issued in Civil

Case No. 0193. The Sandiganbayan is hereby ordered to release the P1,000,000
bond posted by the Republic of the Philippines to the Office of the Ombudsman.