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G.R. No.

156596 August 24, 2007

INFANTE vs. ARAN BUILDERS INC.

FACTS:

Before the Regional Trial Court of Muntinlupa Citywas an action for revival of judgment filed on June 6, 2001 by Aran Builders,
Inc. (private respondent) against AdelaidaInfante (petitioner).

The judgment sought to be revived was rendered by the Regional Trial Court of Makati City, which became final and
executory,in an action for specific performance and damages. The judgment rendered was in favor of AdelaidaInfante.

Petitioner filed a motion to dismiss the action (for revival of judgment) on the grounds that the Muntinlupa RTC has
no jurisdiction over the persons of the parties and that venue was improperly laid. Private respondent opposed the
motion.

The Muntinlupa RTC issued an order dismissing the Motion.

Petitioner asserts that the complaint for specific performance and damages before the Makati RTC is a personal action
and, therefore, the suit to revive the judgment therein is also personal in nature; and that, consequently, the venue of
the action for revival of judgment is either Makati City or Parañaque City where private respondent and petitioner
respectively reside, at the election of private respondent.

On the other hand, private respondent maintains that the subject action for revival judgment is “quasi in rem because
it involves and affects vested or adjudged right on a real property”; and that, consequently, venue lies in Muntinlupa
City where the property is situated.

The CA ruled in favor of herein private respondent reasoning that the judgment sought to be revived was rendered in
an action involving title to or possession of real property, or interest therein, the action for revival of judgment is then
an action in rem which should be filed with the Regional Trial Court of the place where the real property is located.

ISSUE:

Whether or not the complaint for revival of judgment is an action in rem which was correctly filed with the RTC of the
place where the disputed real property is located.

RULING:

Under the present Rules of Court, Sections 1 and 2 of Rule 4 provide:

Section 1. Venue of real actions. - Actions affecting title to or possession of real property, or interest
therein, shall be commenced and tried in the proper court which has jurisdiction over the area wherein the
real property involved, or a portion thereof, is situated.

x xxx

Section 2. Venue of personal actions. - All other actions may be commenced and tried where the
plaintiff or any of the principal plaintiffs resides, or where the defendant or any of the principal defendants
resides, or in the case of a non-resident defendant where he may be found, at the election of the plaintiff.

Thus, the proper venue depends on the determination of whether the present action for revival of judgment is a real action or
a personal action. Applying the afore-quoted rules on venue, if the action for revival of judgment affects title to or
possession of real property, or interest therein, then it is a real action that must be filed with the court of the place
where the real property is located. If such action does not fall under the category of real actions, it is then a personal
action that may be filed with the court of the place where the plaintiff or defendant resides.

The complaint for revival of judgment alleges that a final and executory judgment has ordered herein petitioner to execute a
deed of sale over a parcel of land in Ayala Alabang Subdivision in favor of herein private respondent; pay all pertinent taxes in
connection with said sale; register the deed of sale with the Registry of Deeds and deliver to Ayala Corporation the certificate
of title issued in the name of private respondent. The same judgment ordered private respondent to pay petitioner the sum of
P321,918.25 upon petitioner's compliance with the aforementioned order. It is further alleged that petitioner refused to
comply with her judgment obligations despite private respondent's repeated requests and demands, and that the latter was
compelled to file the action for revival of judgment.

The previous judgment has conclusively declared private respondent's right to have the title over the disputed
property conveyed to it. It is, therefore, undeniable that private respondent has an established interest over the lot in
question; and to protect such right or interest, private respondent brought suit to revive the previous judgment. The sole
reason for the present action to revive is the enforcement of private respondent's adjudged rights over a piece of realty.
Verily, the action falls under the category of a real action, for it affects private respondent's interest over real
property.

The present case for revival of judgment being a real action, the complaint should indeed be filed with the
Regional Trial Court of the place where the realty is located.

NOTE:

Section 18 of Batas PambansaBilang 129 provides:

Sec. 18. Authority to define territory appurtenant to each branch. - The Supreme Court shall
define the territory over which a branch of the Regional Trial Court shall exercise its authority. The
territory thus defined shall be deemed to be the territorial area of the branch concerned for purposes
of determining the venue of all suits, proceedings or actions, whether civil or criminal, as well as
determining the Metropolitan Trial Courts, Municipal Trial Courts and Municipal Circuit Trial Courts over
which the said branch may exercise appellate jurisdiction. The power herein granted shall be exercised with
a view to making the courts readily accessible to the people of the different parts of the region and making the
attendance of litigants and witnesses as inexpensive as possible. (Emphasis supplied)

From the foregoing, it is quite clear that a branch of the Regional Trial Court shall exercise its authority only over a
particular territory defined by the Supreme Court. Originally, Muntinlupa City was under the territorial jurisdiction of the
Makati Courts. However, Section 4 of Republic Act No. 7154, entitled An Act to Amend Section Fourteen of
BatasPambansaBilang 129, Otherwise Known As The Judiciary Reorganization Act of 1981, took effect on September 4, 1991.
Said law provided for the creation of a branch of the Regional Trial Court in Muntinlupa. Thus, it is now the Regional Trial
Court in Muntinlupa City which has territorial jurisdiction or authority to validly issue orders and processes concerning real
property within Muntinlupa City.