Special Civil Actions Initiated by Petition: Declaratory Relief (Rule 63)

Commissioner of Customs vs. Hypermix Feeds Corp. (GR 179579)

The requirements of an action for declaratory relief are as follows: (1) there must be a justiciable controversy; (2) the controversy must be between persons whose interests are adverse; (3) the party seeking declaratory relief must have a legal interest in the controversy; and (4) the issue involved must be ripe for judicial determination.

CJH Development Corp. vs. BIR (GR 172457)

One of the requisites of a declaratory relief is that the issue must be ripe for judicial determination. This means that litigation is inevitable or there is no adequate relief available in any other form or proceeding.

However, CJH is not left without recourse. The Tariff and Customs Code (TCC) provides for the administrative and judicial remedies available to a taxpayer who is minded to contest an assessment, subject of course to certain reglementary periods.

Reyes vs. Hon. Ortiz (GR137794),

Sps. Embores vs Hon. Vallega (GR 149664)

In the instant case, petitioners Erlinda Reyes and Rosemarie Matienzo assailed via Declaratory Relief under Rule 63 of the Rules of Court, the orders of the trial courts denying their motions to suspend proceedings. This recourse by petitioners, unfortunately, cannot be countenanced since a court order is not one of those subjects to be examined under Rule 63.

The proper remedy that petitioner Erlinda Reyes could have utilized from the denial of her motion to suspend proceedings in the Caloocan City MeTC was to file a motion for reconsideration and, if it is denied, to file a petition for certiorari before the RTC pursuant to Rule 65 of the Rules of Court.

Jumamil vs. Cafe (GR 144570)

The CA held that petitioner had no standing to challenge the two resolutions/ordinances because he suffered no wrong under their terms. It also concluded that the issue (was) not the ordinances themselves but the award of the market stalls to the private respondents on the strength of the contracts individually executed by them with Mayor Cafe. Consequently, it ruled that petitioner, who was not a party to the lease contracts, had no standing to file the petition for declaratory relief and seek judicial interpretation of the agreements.

We do not agree. Petitioner brought the petition in his capacity as taxpayer of the Municipality of Panabo, Davao del Norte and not in his personal capacity. He was questioning the official acts of the public respondents in passing the ordinances and entering into the lease contracts with private respondents. A taxpayer need not be a party to the contract to challenge its validity.

Martelino vs. NHMFC (GR 160208)

We cannot agree with the RTCs ruling that the vagueness of the petition furnished additional justification for its dismissal. If the petition for declaratory relief and prohibition was vague, dismissal is not proper because the respondents may ask for more particulars.

Almeda vs. Bathala Marketing Industries Inc. (GR 150806)

It is true that in Panganiban v. Pilipinas Shell Petroleum Corporation we held that the petition for declaratory relief should be dismissed in view of the pendency of a separate action for unlawful detainer.However, we cannot apply the same ruling to the instant case. In Panganiban, the unlawful detainer case had already been resolved by the trial court before the dismissal of the declaratory relief case; and it was petitioner in that case who insisted that the action for declaratory relief be preferred over the action for unlawful detainer. Conversely, in the case at bench, the trial court had not yet resolved the rescission/ejectment case during the pendency of the declaratory relief petition. In fact, the trial court, where the rescission case was on appeal, itself initiated the suspension of the proceedings pending the resolution of the action for declaratory relief.

Bayan Telecommunications vs. Rep0ublic (GR 161140)

For such an action for declaratory relief before a trial court to prosper, it must be shown that (a) there is a justiciable controversy, (b) the controversy is between persons whose interests are adverse, (c) the party seeking the relief has a legal interest in the controversy, and (d) the issue invoked is ripe for judicial determination. Respondents contest the presence of the first and last requisites insofar as petitioners case is concerned.

A justiciable controversy is a definite and concrete dispute touching on the legal relations of parties having adverse legal interests, which may be resolved by a court of law through the application of a law. In the case at bar, petitioner fears the risk of possible sanctions. However, a mere apprehension of an administrative sanction does not give rise to a justiciable controversy. Rep. Act No. 7925 does not provide for a penalty for noncompliance with Section 21, and as correctly pointed out by the Solicitor General, there are yet no implementing rules or guidelines to carry into effect the requirement imposed by the said provision. Whatever sanctions petitioner fears are merely hypothetical.

An issue is ripe for judicial determination when litigation is inevitable, or when administrative remedies have been exhausted. There is no showing of either in the present case. Instead, petitioner asserts that this case falls within the exceptions to the rule on exhaustion of administrative remedies, specifically when there is no administrative review provided by law or when the questions involved are essentially judicial. To our mind, petitioner should have first raised its concerns with the NTC, the agency authorized to implement Rep. Act No. 7925. Only after a categorical denial of its claim of exemption from or deferment of compliance with Section 21 can petitioner proceed to court. As it is now, we agree with the trial and appellate courts that petitioner has no cause of action.

 

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Author: Born2drinkStuff

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