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Republic of the Philippines

Regional Trial Court


Second Judicial Region
Branch 5
Tuguegarao City, Cagayan

PATRICIA CARONAN-TULIAO,
Plaintiff,
Civil Case No. 6646
-versusFor: ANNULMENT OF
FAUSTA RAMOS - LOPEZ,
BENIGAN RAMOS BUNAGAN,
LORENZA RAMOS,
PETRA
BUCAYU and ISABELO RAMOS,
Defendants.

INSTRUMENT and
CERTIFICATES OF
TITLE WITH DAMAGES

x----------------------------------------------x

DECISION
This decision starts with a statement of the pertinent rules and
applicable jurisprudence in this case.
There are two kinds of actions as to their nature: real actions and
personal actions. The importance of knowing the nature of the action
whether real or personal, is in determining the court which has jurisdiction
over the action and in what court is the proper venue.
Section 1, Rule 4 of the Rules of Court defines real action as one
affecting title to or possession of a real property or interest therein.
Section 2 of the same rule states that all other actions are personal actions.
It most cases when the property in question is a real property, question
of ownership and/or possession is involved and so the action is a real action.
On the other hand, if the case is for the annulment of a contract or its
enforcement, it is generally a personal action. The problem however arises
when the contract sought to be annulled is a deed of sale of a real action,
how is jurisdiction here determined?

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Decision
Civil Case No. 6646
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Jurisprudence provides 2 tests in identifying the court which has


jurisdiction over a case as contemplated above. These are the Prime
Objective Test and the Nature of the Action Test.
The Prime Objective Test states that when the ultimate objective of
the action is to secure a judicial declaration as to the ownership and
possession of real property or to recover ownership or possession thereof,
then it is a real action even though there is a necessity to determine the
validity or nullity of a contract to resolve the issue of ownership or
possession thereof.
The following are some of the pertinent cases which elaborate on the:
I.
Prime Objective Test
The prevalent doctrine is that an action for the
annulment or rescission of a sale of real property
does not operate to efface the fundamental and
prime objective and nature of the case which is to
recover real property, and that consequently it is a
real action.
(Fortune Motors, Inc. vs. Court of Appeals, 178
SCRA 564 [1989])
Although plaintiffs complaint was entitled
specific performance, yet the fact that he asked
that a deed of sale of a parcel of land situated in
Quezon City be issued in his favor and that a
transfer certificate of title covering said land be
issued to him shows that the primary objective and
nature of the action is to recover the parcel of land
itself because to execute in favor of appellant the
conveyance requested, there is need to make a
finding that he is the owner of the land which in
the last analysis resolves itself into an issue of
ownership. Hence, the action must be commenced
in the province where the property is situated.

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Decision
Civil Case No. 6646
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(Torres vs. J.M. Tuazon & Co., Inc., G.R. No. L19668 dated October 22, 1964)
Where the action affects not only the possession of
a real property but also title thereto, it is a real
action.
(Albao vs. J.M. Tuazon & Co., Inc. G.R. No. L16796 dated January 30, 1962)
The complaint seeks to annul deeds of sale
covering two lots and to obtain a declration that
the plaintiff is the owner thereof, the action is a
real action.
(Munoz vs. Llamas, 87 Phil. 737)
Deudor vs. J.M. Tuazon and Co., Inc. (L-20105,
October 31, 1963), the plaintiffs claimed that their
action was for rescission of contract and, therefore,
a personal action. However, it appears that in their
complaint they prayed that the defendants be
ordered to return and give back to the plaintiffs the
ownership and possession over twenty quinines of
land received by the defendants from the plaintiff.
The action was, therefore, a real action.
Where the primary object of the action is to nullity
defendants title to a parcel of land in Pasay City,
with an alternative prayer for a sum of money in
case said title cannot be annulled, the action is a
real action. It was improperly brought in Manila.
(Navarro vs. Lucero, 100 Phil. 147)
Where the plaintiff is primarily interested in
establishing his right to recover possession of the
land from the purchaser thereof for the purpose of
enabling him to gather his share of the crops which
he has planted, his action is a real action.
(Land Tenure Administration vs. Macadaeg, L13280, 107 Phil. 83)

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Where the main relief sought is the delivery of the


Torrens Title covering the disputed land, and such
relief is entirely dependent upon the issue of who,
as between the parties, has a better right to the
land, the action is a real action.
(Espinela vs. Santiago, L-14434 dated April 28,
1960).
Where it is alleged that the contract has been
breached, a reason for which the other demands its
rescission (resolution) and the return of the
property subject thereof, the action is an action for
recovery of the possession of land and in
accordance with Section 2, Rule 4 of the Rules of
Court. The action should be filed where the
property is situated.
(Punsalan vs. vda de Lacsamana, 121 SCRA 331;
Tenorio vs. Cruz-Pano, 146 SCRA 75)
In all these cases, the court ignored the nomenclature used by the
claimant in labeling his action and considered instead the ultimate objective
of the suit.

II.
Nature of the Action Test

Where the issues of ownership or possession of real property or an


interest therein is not involved, the action is a personal action although a real
property is incidentally involved.
The following are illustrated cases:
In Adamos vs. J.M. Tuason & Co., Inc. (23 SCRA
530), an action to compel defendants to execute
the corresponding purchase contracts in favor of
the plaintiffs, involving real property and to pay
damages was held as personal action, it appearing
that the plaintiffs do not claim ownership of the lot

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Civil Case No. 6646
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in question: they recognize the title of the


defendant. They do not ask that possession be
delivered to them, for they allege to be in
possession.
Petitioners action is one to declare null and void
the cancellation of the award of a house and lot in
his favor which does not involve title or ownership
over said properties but seeks to compel
respondent to recognize that the award is a valid
and a subsisting one which it cannot arbitrarily and
unilaterally cancel and accordingly accept the
preferred payment in full which it had rejected and
returned to the petitioner. Such an action is a
personal action.
(Hernandez vs. DBP, 71 SCRA 290)
Where the action is primarily to compel the
mortgagee to accept payment of the mortgage debt
and to release the mortgage, it is a personal action
and not a real action. Hence, the venue of
plaintiffs action is the place where the defendant
or any of the plaintiff resides, at the election of the
plaintiff.
(Hernandez vs. Rural Bank of Lucena, 81 SCRA
75)
B.P. Blg. 129 as amended states that jurisdiction of the Regional Trial
Court in a real action depends on the assessed value of the subject real
property. If it is in excess of P20,000.00 or P50,000.00 in Metro Manila, the
action is under the jurisdiction of the Regional Trial Court, otherwise, if the
assessed value does not exceed said amount, the first level courts have
jurisdiction.
What determines the jurisdiction of a court over the subject matter?
Jurisprudence says:
Well settled is the rule that what determines the
nature of the action as well as the court which has
jurisdiction over the case is the allegation made by
the plaintiff in his complaint.
(Ching vs. Malaya, 153 SCRA 412)

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The law in force at the commencement of the


action determines the jurisdiction of the court.
(Mercado vs. Ubay, 187 SCRA 719)
Finally, according to Section 1, Rule 9 of the Rules of Court, when it
appears from the pleadings or the evidence on record that the court has no
jurisdiction over the subject matter the court shall dismiss the claim.
Stated otherwise, when a court has no jurisdiction over the subject matter of
a case it can motu proprio dismiss it at any stage of the proceedings.
With that exposition of the rules and jurisprudence, the court shall
now examine plaintiffs complaint.
The caption states that the action is for Annulment of Instrument and
Certificates of Title with Damages. The pertinent allegation in the
complaint are: that the plaintiff and defendants were co-owners of the lot
described therein having inherited it from their common ancestor with
plaintiff owning an undivided share of 1/6 of said lot which is his interest in
real property in question; that his signature was falsified in the two
notarized documents Deed of Extrajudicial Settlement and Adjudication
and a Deed of Donation, by virtue of which defendants were able to
fraudulently secure 3 transfer certificates of title; that said certificates of title
are void; that plaintiff demanded several times from defendants to
reconvey to her said 1/6 share in said lot but they refused; and that the
lot on which they 1/6 share is a part has an assessed value of P5,710.00
per tax declaration No. 03-49546-R.
The plaintiff prayed that: (a) the Deed of Extrajudicial Settlement and
Adjudication and Deed of Donation be declared void; (b) the 3 certificates
of title issued pursuant to the void documents be cancelled and the original
title of the lot in the name of the common ancestor of the parties be revived
and reactivated.
It is very clear to this court that in her complaint, plaintiff claims to be
the owner of 1/6 of the lot described in the complaint; that she was
fraudulently divested of her ownership over the undivided portion in said lot
through the execution of the 2 spurious documents; that she in effect is
attributing this unlawful act to the defendants; that she asked defendant to
reconvey to her said undivided interest but they refused.

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In demanding of the defendants to give her rightful share on the


property in suit plaintiff, in effect asserted her ownership of said 1/6
undivided share in said lot. By ignoring and wantonly refusing to heed
plaintiffs demand, defendants too invoked their ownership of said
undivided interest. By asking the court to declare the 2 documents and 3
certificates of title as falsified and void, the plaintiff wants to be restored to
her the ownership of the real interest of the property in suit.
It is therefore palpable that the action to annul the 2 deeds and 3
certificates of title is not the ultimate or prime objective of plaintiffs action
but it is merely the means to regain her ownership over said property.
In other words, the only way the plaintiff can be restored her
ownership over said property is by proving that the 2 deeds and 3 certificates
of title are all void. Then, this is an action which involves ownership of an
interest in real property and therefore, a real action.
Considering that the assessed value of the lot described in the
complaint is only P5,710.00 and the property in question is only 1/6 of said
lot, the said assessed value falls way below the jurisdictional benchmark of
this court.
Pursuant to Section 1, Rule 9 of the Rules of Court, this court has no
other course of action but to dismiss the case for lack of jurisdiction over the
subject matter.
WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing, the complaint is hereby
DISMISSED SIN PERJUICIO. No pronouncement as to damages or costs.
SO ORDERED.
27 February 2014, Tuguegarao City.

JEZARENE C. AQUINO
Judge