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11/21/2016 G.R. No.

L-17799

TodayisMonday,November21,2016

RepublicofthePhilippines
SUPREMECOURT
Manila

ENBANC

G.R.No.L17799August31,1962

BENVENENCIOVALENCIA,ETAL.,plaintiffsappellants,
vs.
THECITYOFDUMAGUETE,ETAL.,defendantsappellees.

Medina,Medina&Associatesforplaintiffsappellants.
TheCityAttorneyfordefendantappelleeCityofDumaguete.
AmadeoD.SenofordefendantappelleeEddieGoYouLee.
OstervaldoZ.EmiliafordefendantappelleeS.L.Teves,Inc.

DIZON,J.:

ItappearsthatonJune6,1959,BenvenencioValenciaand28otherresidentsofdifferentmunicipalitiesofNegros
OrientalfiledanactionagainsttheCityofDumaguete,S.L.Teves,Inc.,LorenzoRobertoandEddieGoYouLeeto
recover from them the surcharges they had collected from the customers of four movie houses operated in
DumagueteCity,pursuanttoCityOrdinanceNo.76,Seriesof1954,asamended.Thecomplaintalleged,among
otherthings,thefollowing:.

5. That the subjectmatter of this case is one of common or general interest to about thirty (30) thousand
persons residing in the different municipalities of Negros Oriental and the plaintiffs being so numerous it is
impracticabletobringthemallbeforetheCourtandforthatreasononly29oftheplaintiffs,(chosenonefrom
everymunicipality),appearinthetitleofthiscaseinrepresentationofallothers.

6.ThatS.L.Teves,Inc.istheproprietorandoperatorofthreemoviehousesorcinematographsoperatedin
theCityofDumagueteknownas"MAIN","PARK",and"TOWN".

7. Defendants Lorenzo Roberto and Eddie Go You Lee were the joint managers and operators of "Gets
Theater",acinematographoperatedinDumagueteCityfromSeptember30,1955toDecember31,1956.

9.Thatin1954defendant,theCityofDumaguete,enactedCityOrdinanceNo.76,seriesof1954,whichwas
amended by Ordinance No. 35, series of 1955, and required the operators managers and proprietors of all
cinematographsoperatedinDumagueteCitytocollectfromeachandeverymoviegoersurchargeofP.05and
P.10,inadditiontotheregularadmissionfeerequiredfromeveryperson.

10.Thatinpursuanceofsaidordinance,defendantS.L.Teves,Inc.,uponpressurefromdefendantCityof
DumagueteexactedandillegallycollectedthesumofP.05andP.10asstateaboveinadditiontotheregular
admissionfeefromeachandeverymoviegoer,fromJuly1954toDecember1956,andwasabletorealizethe
totalsumofnotlessthanP59,433.54fromthethreecinematographsnamedMAIN,PARKandTOWNand,in
like manner, defendants Lorenzo Roberto and Eddie Go You Lee collected and realized the sum of
P15,000.58fromtheGetsTheaterfromOctober1955toDecember31,1956.

11.ThatoutofsaidsumofP59,433.54,collectedfromMAIN,PARKandTOWN,defendantS.L.Teves,Inc.
turnedoverbywayofdepositstodefendantCityofDumaguetethesumofP47,344.14onoraboutthemiddle
of 1958 plus P6,017.60 delivered subsequently also by way of deposit, and returned in her possession the
sumofP6,071.80intrustforthelawfulownersthereof. 1wph1.t

12.ThatoutofthesumofP15,000.58collectedfromGetsTheater,defendantsLorenzoRobertoandEddie
GoYouLee,inlikemannerturnedovertodefendant,CityofDumaguete,thesumofP10,624.03onorabout
themiddleof1958,andshortlythereafterdeliveredalsoP598.65correspondingtothecollectionmadefrom
September 1, 1956 to September 15, 1956, but retained in their possession the sum of P3,877.90
correspondingtothecollectioncoveringSeptember16,1956toDecember31,1956.

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13.ThatdefendantCityofDumaguetedidnothaveanyauthorityorpowertoenactanordinanceimposinga
surchargeofP.05andP.10peradmissionticketinadditiontotheregularadmissionfee,andCityOrdinance
No. 76S. of 1954 and Ordinance No. 35S of 1955 are illegal and null and void from the beginning and
thereforethecollectionofsaidsurchargeisultravires,illegalandnullandvoid.

14.Thatpaymentofsaidsurchargewasforceduponthemoviegoerswhohadnootheralternativethanpay
asrequiredunderprotest.

15.Thatknowingtheillegalityofsaidsurcharge,andawareofthefraudcommittedtothepublic,defendants
hereinhavestoppedtheirnefariousandfraudulentexactionafterDecember31,1956buthavenotrefunded
themoneycollectedtotheownersthereof.

16.Thatdefendantshavenorighttokeeporretain,muchlessuseanyofthesumsabovementionedandare
dutybound to return or refund said sums of money to the plaintiffs herein without delay, together with
intereststhereon.

On June 16, 1959, the City of Dumaguete filed a motion to compel the plaintiffs to amend their complaint or to
submitaBillofParticularsspecifyingthereinwithdefinitenessthefollowing:

a. The exact sum or sums of money that each and every plaintiff moviegoer is seeking to recover the
numberoftimeshehasattendedcinematographicperformancethedateand/ordatesofhisattendanceand
themoviehousewhereheattendedoneachparticulardate

b.Thenamesofalltheplaintiffswhopaidthetaxunderprotest,statingalsothedatesandtheamountsthat
theypaidunderprotestandtowhomsuchprotestsweremade

c.ThecomputationwherebytheplaintiffsarrivedattheamountsofP59,433.54andP15,000.58.

OnJune27,1959,defendantS.L.Teves,Inc.fileditsanswertothecomplaintdenyingitsliabilitytotheplaintiffs,
andincorporatingtherein,asanaffirmativedefense,themotionforabillofparticularsfiledbycodefendantCityof
Dumaguete.DefendantEddieGoYouLee,forhispart,movedtodismissthecomplaintonthegroundthatthecase
isnotaproperclasssuit.

OnJuly6,1959,plaintiffsfiledanoppositiontothemotionforabillofparticulars,allegingthatthecaseisaclass
suit that there were about 30,000 plaintiffs having a common or general interest in its subject matter, and that it
wouldbeimpracticableandunnecessarytobringthemallbeforetheCourtortogiveoutindetailallthenamesand
personal circumstances of each and every individual plaintiff or the exact date or dates of payment and amounts
collectedindividuallyfromthembythedefendants.

OnJuly14,1959,theCourtissuedanorderrequiringtheplaintiffstocomplywiththemotionforaBillofParticulars
eitherbyamendingtheircomplaintaccordingly,orsubmitting,withinaperiodoftendaysfromnothereof,aBillof
Particularsregardingthemattersforthinsaidmotion.

OnJuly31,1959,plaintiffsfiledanamendedcomplaintwithamotionforitsadmission.Asintheoriginalcomplaint,
itwasallegedtherein,interalia,thatCityOrdinanceNo.76,Seriesof1954,asamended,oftheCityofDumaguete,
wasultravires,illegalandvoidandtheplaintiffshadnoalternativebuttopay,asinfacttopaid,theillegalsurcharge
imposedbysaidordinance.Newallegations,however,weremadetotheeffectthatdefendantshad"stoppedtheir
illegalandfraudulentcollectionafterDecember31,1956"uponordersfromtheSecretaryofFinance,butthatthey
hadfailedtorefundthemoneytheyhadtheretoforecollected.AcopyoftherulingoftheSecretaryofFinancewas
attachedtotheamendedcomplaintasAnnexCandthesameenjoinedtheCityTreasurerofDumaguete"todesist
fromfurthercollectingthetaxesinquestion".

Consideringtheabovestatedcircumstances,itseemsclearthatthevalidityofthecityordinancealreadyreferredto
wasnolongerinissuebeforethelowercourt,theamendedcomplainthavingrenderedthematterpurelyacademic
ormoot.Thecasewasone,therefore,exclusivefortherecoveryofthesurchargescollectedbythedefendantsfrom
the28plaintiffsandtheirallegedmorethan30,000coparties.

Section12,Rule3oftheRulesofCourtsubstantiallythesameasSection118ofAct190providesthatwhen
the subject matter of an action is of common or general interest to many persons and these persons are so
numerousthatitisimpracticabletobringthemallbeforethecourt,oneormoreofthemmaysueforthebenefitof
all.

Wehaveheldheretoforethatinanactionwherenumerousdefendants,individuallyoccupyingdifferentportionsofa
bigparcelofland,weresuedasaclassrepresentedonlybysomeofthem,aclasssuitwouldnotliebecauseeach
of the defendants had an interest only in the particular portion of the land he was actually occupying, which was
completelydifferentfromtheotherportionsindividuallyoccupiedbytheotherdefendants(Bercesvs.Villanueva,25
Phil. 473). Prior to this ruling we had also held that a class suit does not lie in actions for the recovery of real

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propertywhereseparateportionsofthesameparcelareoccupiedandclaimedindividuallybydifferentparties,to
theexclusionofeachother(Rallonzavs.Evangelists,15Phil.531).

Thecasenowbeforeusisanalogoustothetwomentionedaboveinthesensethateachoneofthehereinplaintiffs
and each of the more than 30,000 other parties in interest referred to in the amended complaint, has an interest
exclusivelyintheamountsallegedlycollectedfromeachofthembythedefendants.Underthefactsallegedinthe
amendedcomplaintitisclearthatnooneplaintiffhasanyrightto,oranyshareintheamountsindividuallyclaimed
bytheothers,eachofthembeingentitled,ifatall,onlytothereturnofwhathehadpersonallypaid.

Moreover, assuming that the case is allowed to proceed as filed, and that judgment is rendered sentencing the
defendants to pay the amounts claimed in the amended complaint, it is obvious that the plaintiffs whether
individuallyorasagroupwouldnotbeentitledtoappropriateforthemselvestheamountssoadjudged.Andyet,
whiletheamendedcomplaintaversthatnumerousotherpartieshaveaninterestintheissue,itdoesnotallegeand
specifytheamountsclaimedby,andpayabletoeachofthemnortoeachoftheplaintiffsnamedinthepleading.

Alltheforegoingconsiderationsclearlysupporttheorderofthelowercourtrequiringtheplaintiffstosubmitabillof
particulars or to amend their complaint in the sense prayed for in the motion filed by the defendant City of
Dumaguete.

Upon the other hand, pursuant to the provisions of Section 3, Rule 30 of the Rules of Court, an action may be
dismissedwhentheplaintifffailstocomplywiththeRulesofCourtoranyorderofthecourt.Itbeingobviousinthis
case that appellants had failed to comply with the order of the lower court requiring them to submit a bill of
particulars, the order of dismissal appealed from must be, as it is hereby upheld. Without pronouncement as to
costs.

Bengzon,C.J.,Padilla,BautistaAngelo,Labrador,Concepcion,Reyes,J.B.L.,Barrera,Paredes,Regalaand
Makalintal,JJ.,concur.

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