Republic of the Philippines
G.R. No. L-20213             January 31, 1966
MARIANO E. GARCIA, plaintiff-appellant,
THE CHIEF OF STAFF and THE ADJUTANT GENERAL, ARMED FORCES OF THE PHILIPPINES and/or THE CHAIRMAN, PHILIPPINE VETERANS BOARD and/or THE AUDITOR GENERAL OF THE PHILIPPINES, defendants-appellees.
Tiangco and Millosa for the plaintiff-appellant.
Office of the Solicitor General for the defendants-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 General 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 2, 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the plaintiff, the Adjutant General's Office denied the said claim, alleging that Commonwealth Act 400 had already been repealed by Republic Act 610 which took effect on January 1, 1950; that by reason of the injuries suffered by plaintiff he was deprived of his sight or vision rendering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.1äwphï1.ñët
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 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 days, exclusive of Sundays and holidays, after their presentation. . . .
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 writing:
x x x           x 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 been 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.
Bengzon, C.J., Bautista Angelo, Concepcion, Reyes J.B.L., Barrera, Dizon, Bengzon, J.P., and Zaldivar, JJ., concur.
Makalintal, J., took no part.
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