STATE IMMUNITY FROM SUIT
Q — If the State files a complaint to recover money from a defendant by filing a petition for forfeiture of unlawfully acquired properties and prays for a writ of attachment, is it required to put up an attachment bond? Why?
ANS: No. When the State litigates, it is not required to put up a bond for damages or even an appeal bond because it is presumed to be solvent. In other words, the State is not required to file a bond because it is capable of paying its obligations. (Sps. Badillo v. Hon. Tayag, 448 Phil. 606 (2003); Rep. v. Maj. Gen. Carlos Garcia, et al., G. R. No. 167741, July 12, 2007).
Q — State the purpose of an attachment bond. Explain.
ANS: The purpose of an attachment bond (to answer for all costs and damages which the adverse party may sustain by reason of the attachment if the court finally rules that the applicant is not entitled to the writ) and a supersedeas bond (to answer for damages to the winning party in case the appeal is found frivolous) is essentially the same.
In filing forfeiture cases against erring public officials and employees, the Office of the Ombudsman performs the State’s sovereign functions of enforcing laws, guarding and protecting the integrity of the public service and addressing the problem of corruption in the bureaucracy.
The filing of an application for the issuance of a writ of preliminary attachment is a necessary incident in forfeiture cases. It is needed to protect the interest of the government and to prevent the removal, concealment and disposition of properties in the hands of unscrupulous public officers. Otherwise, even if the government subsequently wins the case, it will be left holding an empty bag. (Rep. v. Maj. Gen. Carlos Garcia, et al., G.R. No. 167741, July 12, 2007, Corona, J).