Santos V Aquino G R No L 5101
Facts: Angeles Santos is the manager of a theater known as Cine Concepcion who filed a petition for declaratory relief which seek to have Ordinance No. 61 and Ordinance No. 10 declared null and void. Ordinance No. 61 was adopted by the Municipal Council of Malabon imposing license tax of P1,000 per annum in addition to the license tax on tickets sold while Ordinance No. 10 imposed a graduated municipal license tax on theaters and cinematograph from P200 to P9,000 per annum. Petitioner alleged that both ordinances are ultra vires and that the Department of Finance that approved it acted in excess and against the powers granted by law, and is unjust, oppressive and confiscatory.
Respondents, by way of special defense, alleged the following: first, the petition does not state the facts sufficient to consitute a cause of action; second, the court has no jurisdiction over the subject matter of the petition for declaratory relief; third, the Provincial Fiscal of Rizal should have been notified; fourth, the petition did not join all the necessary parties, and therefore the judgment rendered in the case will not terminate the uncertainty or the controversy that is sought to be settled and determined; and fifth, petitioner should have paid under protest the taxes imposed by the ordinance and after payment should bring an action.
Issue: Whether or not a petition for declaratory relief was the proper remedy.
Held: No. This is not an action for declaratory relief on the following grounds: First, the terms of the ordinances are not ambiguous or of doubtful meaning which require interpretation from the court. Second, granting that the validity or legality of the ordinance is questioned, the petition for declaratory relief must be asked before a violation of the ordinance is committed. In this case, it was shown that petitioner did not pay the taxes already due. Third, petitioner is not the real party of the case. Petitioner was only the manager of the theater, not the owner and as such he is not entitled to bring this action.