Header Ads

Quinagoran vs. CA Case Digest


● The doctrine that all cases of recovery of possession or accion publiciana lies with the RTC regardless of the value of the property -- no longer holds true.  As things now stand, a distinction must be made between those properties the assessed value of which is below P20,000.00, if outside Metro Manila; and P50,000.00, if within. A complaint must allege the assessed value of the real property subject of the complaint or the interest thereon to determine jurisdiction.

● Jurisdiction of the court does not depend upon the answer of the defendant or even upon agreement, waiver or acquiescence of the parties.

* * * * * * * * * * * *

Facts:

The heirs of Juan dela Cruz filed a complaint for recovery of a parcel of land with damages before RTC of Cagayan against Quinagoran. 

Quinagoran filed a Motion to Dismiss claiming that the RTC has no jurisdiction over the case under R.A. No. 7691, which expanded the exclusive original jurisdiction of the MTC to include all civil actions which involve title to, or possession of, real property, or any interest therein which does not exceed P20,000.00.  He argued that since the 346 sq m lot which he owns adjacent to the contested property has an assessed value of P1,730, the assessed value of the lot under controversy would not be more than the said amount.

The RTC denied petitioner's Motion to Dismiss on the basis that the action is accion publicciana and therefore, its jurisdiction lies in the RTC, regardless of the value of the property. The CA affirmed decision of the RTC.

Petitioner appealed to the Supreme Court claiming that under RA 7691, the jurisdiction falls in the MTC. He likewise avers that it is an indispensable requirement that the complaint should allege the assessed value of the property involved. The complaint does not alleged that the assessed value of the land in question is more than P20,000.00. There was also no tax declaration attached to the complaint to show the assessed value of the property. Respondents, therefore, failed to alleged that the RTC has jurisdiction over the case. 


Issues:

1. Whether or not the RTC has jurisdiction over all cases of recovery of possession regardless of the value of the property involved?

2. Whether the complaint must allege the assessed value of the property


Held:

1. No. The doctrine that all cases of recovery of possession or accion publiciana lies with the RTC regardless of the value of the property -- no longer holds true.  As things now stand, a distinction must be made between those properties the assessed value of which is below P20,000.00, if outside Metro Manila; and P50,000.00, if within.

Republic Act No. 7691 expressly provides:

SEC. 19. Jurisdiction in civil cases – Regional Trial Courts shall exercise exclusive original jurisdiction:

(2) In all civil actions which involve the title to or possession of, real property, or any interest therein, where the assessed value of the property involved exceeds Twenty thousand pesos (P20,000.00) or, for civil actions in Metro Manila, where such value exceeds Fifty thousand pesos (P50,000.00) except for forcible entry into and unlawful detainer of lands or buildings, original jurisdiction over which is conferred upon the Metropolitan Trial Courts, Municipal Trial Courts, and Municipal Circuit Trial Courts.

In Atuel v. Valdez  (G.R. No. 139561, June 10, 2003, 403 SCRA 517),  the Court likewise expressly stated that: Jurisdiction over an accion publiciana is vested in a court of general jurisdiction. Specifically, the regional trial court exercises exclusive original jurisdiction “in all civil actions which involve x x x possession of real property.” However, if the assessed value of the real property involved does not exceed P50,000.00 in Metro Manila, and P20,000.00 outside of Metro Manila, the municipal trial court exercises jurisdiction over actions to recover possession of real property.


2. Yes. In no uncertain terms, the Court has already held that a complaint must allege the assessed value of the real property subject of the complaint or the interest thereon to determine which court has jurisdiction over the action. This is because the nature of the action and which court has original and exclusive jurisdiction over the same is determined by the material allegations of the complaint, the type of relief prayed for by the plaintiff and the law in effect when the action is filed, irrespective of whether the plaintiffs are entitled to some or all of the claims asserted therein. 

Nowhere in said complaint was the assessed value of the subject property ever mentioned. There is therefore no showing on the face of the complaint that the RTC has exclusive jurisdiction over the action of the respondents. Indeed, absent any allegation in the complaint of the assessed value of the property, it cannot be determined whether the RTC or the MTC has original and exclusive jurisdiction over the petitioner's action. The courts cannot take judicial notice of the assessed or market value of the land. 

Jurisdiction of the court does not depend upon the answer of the defendant or even upon agreement, waiver or acquiescence of the parties. Indeed, the jurisdiction of the court over the nature of the action and the subject matter thereof cannot be made to depend upon the defenses set up in the court or upon a motion to dismiss for, otherwise, the question of jurisdiction would depend almost entirely on the defendant.

Considering that the respondents failed to allege in their complaint the assessed value of the subject property, the RTC seriously erred in denying the motion to dismiss.  Consequently, all proceedings in the RTC are null and void, and the CA erred in affirming the RTC. (Victorino Quinagoran vs. Court of Appeals, G.R. NO. 155179, August 24, 2007)

No comments

Powered by Blogger.