G.R. No. 111190, 27 June 1995


Petitioners sought to quash the notice of garnishment issued by the trial court stating that he was not in possession of any funds belonging to the private respondent, and that the salary and RATA checks being kept by him are still considered government funds as they have yet to be delivered.


Is a check owned by a payee prior to physical delivery?


No. Prior to physical delivery the maker retains ownership.

As Assistant City Fiscal, the source of the salary of Mabanto, Jr., is public funds. He receives his compensation in the form of checks from the Department of Justice through petitioner as City Fiscal of Mandaue City and head of office.

Under Sec. 16 of the Negotiable Instruments Law, 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.

In Tiro v. Hontanosas we ruled that —

The salary check of a government officer or employee such as a teacher does not belong to him before it is 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.

As a necessary consequence of being public fund, the checks may not be garnished to satisfy the judgment.

*Case digest by Roger Angielo V. Atenta, JD-IV, Andres Bonifacio Law School, SY 2019-2020