3. Malana vs. Tappa Declaratoryrelief

September 9, 2017 | Author: Alexine Mercado | Category: Declaratory Judgment, Complaint, Lawsuit, Crime & Justice, Justice
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CHICO-NAZARIO, J.: FACTS: petitioners in this case filed before the RTC of Tuguegarao an action for reivindicatoria and quieting of title against the respondents. The petitioners alleged that they are the owners of the land because they acquire it by inheritance from their father. And that the respondents were only allowed by their father before the latter died, to occupy the land on the condition that they will vacate it anytime they need the subject property. However when their father died, the respondents continued to occupy the property and had already built their residences using permanent materials and claimed ownership over the property. Petitioners referred their land dispute with the respondents to the lupong tagapamayapa for conciliation. During the conciliation proceeding, respondents asserts their ownership over the land Petitioners were compelled to file before the RTC an action to remove the cloud from their title alleging that the documents of the respondents were highly Dubious, falsified and incapable of proving their ownership. RTC issued an order dismissing the complaint for lack of jurisdiction. According to BP 129, RTC has jurisdiction over real actions where the assessed value of the property which involved exceeds 20,000 outside MM or 50,000 within MM. it found out that the value of the property is only 410 pesos thus outside of its jurisdiction. Petitioner filed a motion for reconsideration. They argued that the principal action is quieting of title; reivindicacion was included merely to seek complete relief from respondents. RTC denied the MR it reasoned out that quieting of title is a real action. Pursuant RA 7691 amending BP 129, it is the MTC that exercises jurisdiction over real action where the assessed value does not exceed 20,000. Hence this petition

ISSUE: whether the RTC committed grave abuse of discretion in dismissing petitioner’s complaint for lack of jurisdiction HELD: The court ruled in the NEGATIVE

An action for declaratory relief should be filed by a person interested under a deed, will, contract or other written instrument, and whise rights are affected by a statute, EO or regulation or an ordinance. The relief sought under this includes the interpretation and determination of the validity of the written instrument and judicial declaration of the parties’ rights and duties RTc correctly made a distinction between the 1 st and the 2nd paragraph of section 1 rule 63. Specifically in second paragraph, in order to determine which court has jurisdiction, it must be read together with the Judicial reorganization act of 1980 as amended. It is important to note that section 1 does not categorically require an action to quiet the tile to be filed before the RTC. It repeatedly used the word “May”. It denotes that the provision is merely permissive and indicates a mere possibility, an opportunity or an option. In contrast judicial reorganization act uses the word “shall” and explicitly requires the MTC to exercise exclusive jurisdiction over all civil actions which involves title to or possession of real property where the assessed value does not exceed 20,000. Thus, the complaint involving title to or possession of property is within the jurisdiction of MTC not the RTC Since the purpose of an action for declaratory relief is to secure an authoritative statement of the rights and obligations of the parties under a statute, deed, or contract for their guidance in the enforcement thereof, or compliance therewith, and not to settle issues arising from an alleged breach thereof, it may be entertained only before the breach or violation of the statute, deed, or contract to which it refers. A petition for declaratory relief gives a practical remedy for ending controversies that have not reached the state where another relief is immediately available. Where the law or contract has already been contravened prior to the filing of an action for declaratory relief, the courts can no longer assume jurisdiction over the action. In other words, a court has no more jurisdiction over an action for declaratory relief if its subject has already been infringed or transgressed before the institution of the action. In the present case, petitioners’ Complaint for quieting of title was filed after petitioners already demanded and respondents refused to vacate the subject property. In fact, said Complaint was filed only subsequent to the latter’s express claim of ownership over the subject property before the Lupong Tagapamayapa, in direct challenge to petitioners’ title. since petitioners averred in the Complaint that they had already been deprived of the possession of their property, the proper remedy for them is the filing of an accion publiciana or an accion reivindicatoria, not a case for declaratory relief. An accion publiciana is a suit for the recovery of possession, filed one year after the occurrence of the cause of action or from the unlawful withholding of possession of the realty. An accion reivindicatoria is a suit that has for its object one’s recovery of possession over the real property as owner

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