Roldan vs Sps. Barrios
G.R. No. 214803. April 23, 2018
On October 13, 2008, defendants (respondents) mortgaged a 478-sq. meter parcel of land in Aklan with an assessed worth of P13,380 in favor of plaintiff (respondent), in order to secure a P250,000 loan from the latter, payable within one (1) year from date the loan was issued, with an interest thereon at the rate of 5% per month. After the respondents failed to pay the principal obligation and interest due starting from February 2011, petitioner filed a complaint with the Aklan RTC to compel the respondents to pay the aforementioned loan with interests, plus an additional sum of P25,000.00 for attorney's fees, litigation expenses and costs. The RTC subsequently dismissed the case (Civil Case No. 9811) for lack for jurisdiction as the assessed value of the property mortgaged is below P20,000.00 (P13,380), and is thus the jurisdiction of the first level. After petitioner’s motion for reconsideration was also dismissed by the RTC, they an submitted instant petition for certiorari alleging grave abuse of discretion committed by the RTC. Petitioner argues that the foreclosure of mortgage is an action incapable of pecuniary estimation which is within the exclusive jurisdiction of the RTC.
Whether or not RTC has jurisdiction over the case.
No. Petition for certiorari dismissed under Section 19 and Section 33 of Batas Pambansa Big. (BP) 129 as amended by Republic Act No. (RA) 7691, the RTC exercises exclusive original jurisdiction in civil actions where the subject of the litigation is incapable of pecuniary estimation. It also has jurisdiction in civil cases involving title to, or possession of, real property or any interest in it where the assessed value of the property involved exceeds P20,000.00, and if it is below P20,000.00, it is the first level court which has jurisdiction. An action "involving title to real property" means that the plaintiffs cause of action is based on a claim that he owns such property or that he has the legal right to have exclusive control, possession, enjoyment, or disposition of the same. In the current case, the foreclosure suit is a real action so far as it is against property, and seeks the judicial recognition of a property debt, and an order for the sale of the res. Petitioner also failed to convince the SC by citing Russell v. Vestill to show that action for foreclosure of mortgage is an action incapable of pecuniary estimation and, therefore, within the jurisdiction of the RTC. In the same case, the court explained that while civil actions which involve title to, or possession of, real property, or any interest therein, are also incapable of pecuniary estimation as it is not for recovery of money, the court's jurisdiction will be determined by the assessed value of the property involved. In the current case, since the mortgaged property has an assessed value of P13,380, the proper jurisdiction falls to the first level courts.