Declaratory Relief

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One of the legal remedies you will find in the Rules of Court is the special civil action for declaratory relief.

In particular, it is found in Rule 63 of the Rules and discussed exhaustively in several cases decided by the Supreme Court.

Declaratory relief

What then is a declaratory relief? In order to have a clear grasp of what this action is all about, we need to know in general the following: (1) the subject matter of the controversy, (2) the person who may file it, (3) the court that has jurisdiction over it, (4) the period when it should be filed, (5) the reliefs sought when filed, and (6) its essential requisites.

Subject matter of the controversy

What must be the subject matter of the controversy in an action for declaratory relief? It must be any of the following: (a) deed, (b) will, (c) contract or (d) other written instrument, (e) statute, (f) executive order or regulation, (g) ordinance, or (h) any other governmental regulation.

Person who may file it

Who may file an action for declaratory relief? It may be filed by any person interested under a deed, will, contract or other written instrument, or whose rights are affected by a statute, executive order or regulation, ordinance, or any other governmental regulation.

Court that has jurisdiction over it

Which court has jurisdiction over an action for declaratory relief? It is the Regional Trial Court that has jurisdiction over it.

Period when it should be filed

When should an action for declaratory relief be filed in court? It should be filed before an act deemed as breach or violation of any of the subject matter stated above is committed.

Reliefs sought when filed

What reliefs do parties seek to obtain when an action for declaratory relief is filed? The reliefs include asking the court to interpret or determine the validity of any of the subject matter stated above and to declare their rights or duties under the subject matter in question.

Essential requisites

Of course, we also need to know the essential requisites of an action for declaratory relief, which are as follows:

First, the subject matter of the controversy must be a deed, will, contract or other written instrument, statute, executive order or regulation, ordinance, or any other governmental regulation;

Second, the terms of the subject matter in question and/or its validity are doubtful and require judicial interpretation and/or determination;

Third, there must have been no breach or violation of the subject matter in question;

Fourth, there must be a justiciable controversy;

Fifth, the controversy must be between persons whose interests are adverse;

Sixth, the party seeking declaratory relief must have a legal interest in the controversy;

Seventh, the issue involved must be ripe for judicial determination; and,

Eight, adequate relief is not available through other means or other forms of action or proceeding.

Why do we also need to know these requisites? It is because, even if only one is lacking, the court will deny the action.

[References: Rule 63 of the Rules of Court, Brother Mariano “Mike” Z. Velarde vs. Social Justice Society, G.R. No. 159357, April 28, 2004, Vivencio V. Jumamil vs. Jose J. Cafe, et. al., G.R. No. 144570, September 21, 2005, Carmen Danao Malana, et. al. vs. Benigno Tappa, et. al., G.R. No. 181303, September 17, 2009, Honesto V. Ferrer, Jr. et. al. vs. Mayor Sulpicio S. Roco, et. al., G.R. 174129, July 5, 2010, Commissioner of Customs, et. al. vs. Hypermix Feeds Corporation, G.R. No. 179579, February 1, 2012, Jerbert B. Galicto vs. H.E. President Benigno Simeon C. Aquino III, et. al., G.R. No. 193978, February 28, 2012, Republic of the Philippines, represented by the Executive Secretary, et. al. vs. Herminio Harry Roque, et. al., G.R. No. 202603, September 24, 2013, Crisostomo B. Aquino vs. Municipality of Aklan, et. al., G.R. 211356, September 29, 2014, City of Lapu-Lapu vs. Philippine Economic Zone Authority, G.R. No. 184203, November 26, 2014/Province of Bataan, et. al. vs. Philippine Economic Zone Authority, G.R. No. 187583, November 26, 2014, and Secretary of Finance, et. al. vs. Representative Carmelo F. Lazatin, et. al., G.R. No. 210588, November 29, 2016]

 

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