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The Trial Courts

Features of RA 7691
-

Reduced number of cases cognizable by the RTC


By simply raising the jurisdictional limits of the MTC.

REAL ACTIONS

PERSONAL
ACTIONS

MTC
FE and UD
Civil actions which involve title to or
possession or RP or any interest
therein does not exceed 20k in
ASSESSED VALUE (50k in Metro
Manila)
(exclusive of interest, damages, attorneys
fees, litigation expenses, and costs)

Includes actions reinvindicatoria or


publiciana
1. Civil actions and probate
proceedings
2. Including the grant of provisional
remedies in proper cases
3. Where the value of the personal
property, estate, or amount of the
demand DOES NOT exceed 300k
(MM: 400k)
4. (exclusive of interest, damages,
attorneys fees, litigation expenses,
and costs)
1.
2.

RTC
"(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 actions for forcible entry into and
unlawful detainer of lands or buildings
"(1)
In all civil actions in which the subject of
the litigation is incapable of pecuniary
estimation;
1. Examples of IPEs:
a. action for specific performance;
b. action of UD relies on
interpretation of a provision in a
contract of lease
c. question of nullity of assignment
of rights with chattel mortgage
2. exceptions in cases:
a. alternative prayer to the specific
performance = capable of Pes
b. agreement of refund of money
upon compliance with certain
conditions = capable of PEs
3. Test to ascertain: NATURE of the Principal
Action or Remedy sought
a. Primarily for recovery of a sum
money = capable of PEs
b. Basic issue is something other
than money/ money claim is
merely incidental = incapable of
Pes
4. In event of BREACH OF CONTRACT
a. Option of aggrieved party to sue
for:
b. Specific performance +
Damages
c. SP / D
i. Jurisdiction is
Determined by amount
of damages prayed for
d. D
i. Jurisdiction is
Determined by amount
of damages prayed for
e. SP AND/OR D
"(3)
In all actions in admiralty and maritime
jurisdiction where the demand or claim exceeds
(P300,000.00) or, in Metro Manila, where such
demand or claim exceeds (P400,000.00);
"(4)
In all matters of probate, both testate
and intestate, where the gross value of the

estate exceeds (P300,000.00) or, in probate


matters in Metro Manila, where such gross value
exceeds (P400,000.00);
"(5)
In all actions involving the contract of
marriage and marital relations;
"(6)
In all cases not within the exclusive
jurisdiction of any court, tribunal, person or body
exercising jurisdiction of any court, tribunal,
person or body exercising judicial or quasijudicial functions;
"(7)
In all civil actions and special
proceedings falling within the exclusive original
jurisdiction of a Juvenile and Domestic Relations
Court and of the Court of Agrarian Relations as
now provided by law; and
"(8)
In all other cases in which the demand,
exclusive of interest, damages of whatever kind,
attorney's fees, litigation expenses, and costs or
the value of the property in controversy exceeds
One hundred thousand pesos (P300,000.00) or,
in such other cases in Metro Manila, where the
demand exclusive of the abovementioned items
exceeds Two Hundred thousand pesos
(P400,000.00

CRIMINAL CASES

6.

OJ in OTHER
CASES

7.

HOLD
DEPARTURE
ORDER
Whether of
General or
Limited
Jurisdiction

8.

5.
1.

LIMITED JURISDICTION
Jurisdiction ONLY over those CASES
EXPRESSLY PROVIDED BY LAW as
falling within its jurisdiction

INTRACORPORATE controversies
EOJ in ALL CRIMINAL CASES not within
the EOJ of any court
1. In ISSUANCE of WRITS of C,P,M,QW,HC,I
Which may be enforced in any part of
their respective regions
2. Actions affecting ambassadors and other
public ministers and consuls
Under SC Circular No. 39-97
Issued only in CRIMINAL CASES within
the exclusive jurisdiction of the RTC
Still a court of GENERAL JURISDICTION
o It still has jurisdiction over ALL
cases NOT FALLING within the
EXCLUSIVE JURISDICTION of ANY

Court

Tribunal

Body or
Person exercising judicial or quasi-judicial
functions

General jurisdiction and Limited jurisdiction distinguished


COVERAGE

EXCEPTION

LIMITED JURISDICTION
Cases EXPRESSLY provided
by law as falling within its
jurisdiction
Jurisdiction is not presumed
Must appear clearly
from the statute or
it will not be held to
exist

GENERAL JURISDICTION
Case not expressly fall within the jurisdiction of any court, tribunal
or person = safely filed with the RTC

When sitting as SPECIAL OR LIMITED JURISDICTION


1. as a land registration court
2. probate court

Other Details:

a.
b.
-

when jurisdiction is conferred upon a court, the court is


deemed to have all the necessary powers to exercise such
jurisdiction to make it effective
as a Probate Court
power to determine who are the heirs of the decedent
=> has the power to determine acknowledged natural child
of the decedent and which of 2 women is the lawful SS of
the deceased
As a LRC
General Rule: RTC may not resolve an issue involving the
validity of a deed of sale which is cognizable by the RTC
sitting as a court of GJ.
Exception + Circumstances:
1. Parties agreed to submit the issues for determination
by the court in the registration proceedings
2. Parties were given FULL OPPORTUNITY in presenting
their arguments of the issues litigated and of the
evidence in support
3. The Court is convinced that the EVIDENCE on RECORD
is sufficient and adequate for rendering a decision upon
the issues

Real Actions
Definition
1.
2.

ACTIONS
Affecting
a. TITLE to or
b. POSSESSION of RP or
c. INTEREST therein.

Assessed Value
I.
Purpose
Basis for determining jurisdiction in REAL ACTIONS
II.
Source
Made by the assessor
III.
Position
Appears at the back of the Tax Declaration
IV.
Effect of NO AV of property or adjacent lots
a. ESTIMATED VALUE alleged by the claimant
i. Basis for computing the fees

Jurisdictional Test in Personal Actions


-

Only the BASIC CLAIM of the plaintiff


Others = excluded
Assessed by the City Assessor or Municipal Assessor
o Need not be a lawyer

Equity Jurisdiction of the Trial Court


-

RATIONALE: Courts MUST MAKE A RULING


o Despite the

Silence

Obscurity or

Insufficiency of the LAWS


AIM
o To complete justice
o In cases where a court of law is UNABLE to adapt its judgments to the special circumstances of the
case
o Because of inflexibility of its statutory or legal jurisdiction
Applied in HIATUS in the law and the RULES OF COURT
o Perceived as resulting to unjust enrichment of one party at the expense of another
o To prevent unjust enrichment = Equity Jurisdiction

Ecclesiastical Matters NOT INCLUDED in the jurisdiction of the RTC


-

Definition:
o Matters of

Faith

Practice

Doctrine

Form of worship

Custom or rule of the church having reference to the power of excluding from the church those
allegedly unworthy of membership
It CANNOT entertain a suit for damages were plaintiffs were expelled from a church or sect WITHOUT due
process
Cases:
o The Church and State are separate and distinct from each other.

Give to Ceasar what is Ceasars and to God what is Gods.


o Courts have NO jurisdiction to hear a case involving the expulsion/excommunication of members of a
religious institution

Exhaustion of Administrative Remedies


General Rule: Before a party may be allowed to invoke the jurisdiction of the courts of justice = he is
expected to have EXHAUSTED all MEANS of administrative redress.
>>>EXCEPTIONS: Instances when judicial action may be resorted to immediately:
a.
b.
c.
d.
e.
f.
g.
h.
i.
j.
k.

Purely legal question


Admin. Body is in estoppel
Act complained of is patently illegal
Urgent need for judicial intervention
Respondent acted in disregard of due process
Respondent is a Dept. Sec. whose acts, as Pres alter ego, = bear implied act or assumed approval of
the Pres
Irreparable damages will be suffered
No other plain, speedy, and adequate remedy
Strong public interest is involved
Subject of the controversy is private land
In QW proceedings

Jurisdiction over ownership issues in settlement of estate


-

RTC sits as an estate court


o In a testate or intestate proceeding
Special proceeding is not adversarial, where claims and counter claims may be pleaded and adjudicated

GR: Testate or intestate court cannot decide questions of ownership of properties included in the
inventory of the estate
o
o

Approval is interlocutory and provisional


Ownership issues must be contained in a separate ACTION FOR RECOVERY OF OWNERSHIP or SIMILAR
ACTION

>>>EXCEPTION + conditions: = Court may decide questions of ownership as a PROBATE COURT


1.

2.

Any of the conditions


a. All the claimants are HEIRS or
b. The question is one of collation or advancement or
c. Parties consent to its assumption of jurisdiction
AND No THIRD PERSONS are involved / none of their rights are impaired.

Jurisprudence

More a question of jurisdiction over the person, and NOT the SM


Issue of ownership of properties may be fully litigated IN THE FORM of the COMPLAINT to be filed in the
intestate /testate proceedings
o Sets for the factual bases of the claim of the movants

Appellate jurisdiction of the RTC


-

Over all cases decided by the MTC in their jurisdiction

No longer any Trial de Novo


Appeal decided by the RTC on basis of the

o
o
o
MTC->
o
o

Records
Memoranda or
Brief
RTC -> CA
Appealed by PR to the CA
CA may give such petition due course only when it shows prima facie that the lower court has
committed an error of fact or law that will warrant a reversal or modification of the decision or
judgment sought to be reviewed.

Uniform Procedure for both MTC and RTC


1.
2.
3.

In a PRE-TRIAL
Court may allow the plaintiff to PRESENT HIS EVIDENCE EX PARTE
a. If the defendant fails to appear
>>>EXCEPTION: When a lawyer or representative appears in his behalf with a POWER of ATTORNEY

Administrative Circular No. 09-94: exclusion of damages of whatever kind


-

in determining jurisdictional amount


applies to cases where damages are merely incidental to or a consequence of the main cause of the action

Determination of Jurisdiction: 2-Step Process


1.
2.

Determination of the MAIN CAUSE of action


Determination on the basis of the SUBJECT MATTER or NATURE OF THE ACTION

GENERAL RULE: Damages are merely incidental to or a consequence of the main cause of the action =
DAMAGES ARE IMMATERIAL
a. >>>EXCEPTIONS: (amount of damages claim considered in determining jurisdiction)
i. Claim for the DAMAGES is the MAIN CAUSE of ACTION
ii. / one of the causes of action
Totality of ALL damages prayed for should be the jurisdictional amount
o Different amounts of different kinds do not constitute separate causes of action
If each separate claim furnishes the jurisdictional test = action would have to be split
o But this is not possible if there is a SINGLE CAUSE OF ACTION, prohibited by law.
JOINED CAUSES
o If main cause is cognizable by the MTC = all joined causes should be included in one complaint filed in
the MTC
o If main cause is cognizable by the RTC = incidental cases should follow the main cause

To avoid multiplicity of suits


PROBLEMS
a. Jurisdiction is determined by the allegations in the complaint.
i. Regardless of whether the plaintiff is able to recover or not
b. Court finds that the plaintiff is entitled to recovery of money that is MORE than its limit of jurisdiction
i. = Court cannot render judgment for excess amount
c. Permissive joinder of causes of action = TOTALITY of claims in all causes of action
i. Irrespective of whether the causes of action arose out of the same or different transactions
1. Assumption: there is proper joinder of parties
ii. Definition of permissive joinder several claims or causes of action between the same or
different parties embodied in the SAME complaint
d. Case was dismissed by the LC claiming lack of jurisdiction. No trial on the merits occurred.
i. MTC dismissed the case for lack of jurisdiction over the subject matter. Plaintiff appeals. = RTC
may NOT dismiss the case on the ground that it cannot exercise appellate
jurisdiction given that MTC had no original jurisdiction.
ii. The law requires the RTC to exercise its original jurisdiction (Sec. 8; Rule 40; ROC)
1. It shall try to the case on the merits as if the case was originally filed with it
2. In case of reversal, the case shall be REMANDED for further proceedings
e. Case was tried on the merits by the LC WITHOUT jurisdiction over the SM
i. RTC on appeal shall not dismiss the cause
ii. On its original jurisdiction = it shall decide the case
iii. Without prejudice to amended pleadings and additional evidence
1. In the interest of justice

Filing Fees

Purpose:

major source of funding for various concerns of the judiciary

Ex: supplies, salaries etc.


o Needed

for the proper functioning of the courts

for the preservation of their independence (fiscal autonomy)


as a CAUSE FOR DISMISSAL, for failure to comply not with paying, but with Rules or Court Order
o not mentioned in Rule 16 on Motion to Dismiss
o under Sec. 3; Rule 17 => Failure to comply with these Rules or any order of the court
o

Jurisprudence
I.
II.

III.
IV.

V.

VI.

VII.
VIII.

IX.

Partial Payment of DF = Court acquires jurisdiction over the case


a. Court may order the payment of the balance of the DF
i. Failure to follow the order = Case may be DISMISSED
When the case is considered FILED
a. On the DATE of FILING
b. On the date of PARTIAL PAYMENT
c. Or upon FULL PAYMENT of the DF
Damages are excluded in determining jurisdiction but these are included in the determination of the filling
fees.
Institution of a civil action with a criminal action
a. Filing fees shall be paid by the offended party
i. If amount is not alleged in the information = fees need not be paid and shall constitute a lien
on the judgment
1. Except in an award for ACTUAL DAMAGES
Non-payment at the time of filing does not automatically cause the dismissal of the case
a. As long as the fees are paid within the applicable prescriptive or reglementary peroid Partial Payment
of DF = Court acquires jurisdiction over the case
b. Court may order the payment of the balance of the DF
i. Failure to follow the order = Case may be DISMISSED
When the case is considered FILED
a. On the DATE of FILING
b. On the date of PARTIAL PAYMENT
c. Or upon FULL PAYMENT of the DF
Damages are excluded in determining jurisdiction but these are included in the determination of the filling
fees.
Institution of a civil action with a criminal action
a. Filing fees shall be paid by the offended party
i. If amount is not alleged in the information = fees need not be paid and shall constitute a lien
on the judgment
1. Except in an award for ACTUAL DAMAGES
Non-payment at the time of filing does not automatically cause the dismissal of the case
a. As long as the fees are paid within the applicable prescriptive or reglementary peroid
b. No intention to defraud the government
c. Willingness to abide by the rules prescribing such payment
d. Ex: incorrect assessment by the docket clerk

The Rule in Filing Fees is Different in Appeals


-

Rationale: Indispensable to the prevention of needless delays

Rules
I.

II.

FULL AMOUNT of Appellate Court DF must be paid within the period of taking an appeal
a. Effect of non-compliance: judgment or order appealed from will be FINAL
i. AC does not acquire jurisdiction
ii. Appeal is not perfected
b. Necessary for the perfection of the appeal
i. To prevent the judgment or order from becoming final
ii. To take the case out of the jurisdiction of the TC and bring it within the jurisdiction of the AC
How made
a. Proof of Payment + Record on Appeal

Motu Proprio Dismissal


Court cannot dismiss a case for lack or jurisdiction over the SM ex mero motu (with a motion to
dismiss by the respondent)
Court can dismiss Motu Proprio for lack of jurisdiction over the SM
-

Motion to dismiss by the respondent is not required (Sec. 1; Rule 9; ROC)

Court cannot dismiss motu Proprio on ground of improper venue


-

IV is not one of the grounds on which the Court may dismiss a case on its own motion

Basis of determination of jurisdiction over the SM is the COMPLAINT


The Court CAN be compelled by mandamus to act on a motion to dismiss
-

In the following grounds:


o Lack of jurisdiction
o Lack of cause of action
To refuse to act on such motions in any of the above grounds = excess of jurisdiction to defer
o Since the allegations of the complaint are deemed admitted
o MTD can be resolved WITHOUT waiting for trial on the merits

Rendition of Judgment
I.
II.

Meaning:
a. filing by the judge of the signed decision with the clerk of court
b. NOT when the decision is actually promulgated
Period: 90 days
a. Counted from the date the case is submitted for decision
b. NOT from transcription of the stenographic notes
i. Unless, the judge did not try the case

Execution of Final Judgment


I.

II.

III.
IV.

How
a.

On MOTION within 5 days from


i. The date of its entry or
ii. The date it becomes final and executory
b. AFTER lapse of period above
i. Before it is barred by the statute of limitations
ii. = enforced by action
Writ of Execution of the Final Judgment
a. Entitled to the prevailing party
b. Obtained by filing a motion within 5 years either from
i. The DATE the judgment is entered
ii. The DATE it becomes FINAL and EXECUTORY
REMEDY after lapse of period: institute an ORDINARY CIVIL ACTION
a. Judgment is REDUCED to a mere right of action
b. Must be filed WITHIN 10 YEARS from the date the judgment becomes final
Special case: A judgment based upon a COMPROMISE
a. By its nature = final and immediately executory
b. Prescription tolls from the RENDITION DATE; not date of entry

Supersedeas bond; purpose


Procedure of Appeal
UD / FE case
1. Notice of Appeal
2. Appellate court docket fee

Ejectment cases (whether UD/FE)


1. File SUPERSEDEAS BOND
a. Approved by the MTC
b. Executed in favor of the plaintiff
c. To pay the rents, damages, and costs
accruing down to the time of the
judgment
d. >>>UNLESS, during the pendency of the
appeal
i. He dEPOSITS with the AC the
rent due from time to time under
the contract
2. NA
3. AC DF

Distinctions between Supersedeas Bond and Docket Fee


Supersedeas Bond
Posted the STAY execution pending appeal
Nothing to do with perfection of the appeal

Docket Fee
Paid to perfect the appeal = to vest appellate jurisdiction
in the RTC

Effect of Failure to file a SB


1.
2.
3.

Plaintiff-appellee may move for immediate execution


Without prejudice to the appeal taking its course
RTCs ministerial duty to allow immediate execution pending appeal (without SB and with Motion)

Nature of Ejectment Case: IMMEDIATELY EXECUTORY


-

Law presumes that plaintiff continues to suffer the damages arising from loss of possession
Antidote:
o SB and rent
o periodic deposit of rent or reasonable value of use and occupation (determined in judgment), if there is
no contract

RTC has no authority to accept a BOND in lieu of cash deposits for future rents
SB is transmitted by the MTC with other papers => RTC CoC

SC Resolution (1999); Amending Rule 141


-

Fees collected by RTC clerks or courts of first level:


a. Estafa cases where OP fails to manifest the filing of information that civil liability arising from crime
would be separately prosecuted
i. Filed 15 days after filling of the information
b. Motions of Postponement after COMPLETION of the Pre-Trial stage
i. P 100 first
ii. P 50 for every postponement
iii. No fee for justifiable and compelling reason

Certification of Non-Forum Shopping; mandatory but NOT jurisdictional


-

Jurisdiction over the subject or nature of the action is conferred by LAW.


o Otherwise, there is a LOJ over nature of the action
Rule requiring a certification of CNF applies only to an INITIATORY pleading
Ex: Defendants answer with compulsory counter claim is a RESPONSIVE PLEADING, not initiatory

Small Claims
-

Basis: Constitutional Mandate of SC to promulgate rules of pleading, practice, and procedure to provide a
simplified and inexpensive procedure for the speedy disposition of cases (Sec. 5; par. 5; Art. VIII; Const.)
Separate and distinct from rule of summary procedure for FE and UD
Implemented by MTCs

Description of Small Claims


1. All claims for money which do not exceed 100k
2. Exclusive of interest and costs
Applied by First Level Courts in ALL actions which are:
1. Purely CIVIL in nature
o Where claim is solely for payment / reimbursement of a sum of money;
2. Civil aspect of criminal actions
a. Either filed
i. Before the institution of criminal action or
ii. Reserved upon the filing of the criminal action in court
Claims or Demands
May be:
1. For MONEY OWED under any of the following Contracts:
a. Lease
b. Loan
c. Services
d. Sale
e. Mortgage
2. For DAMAGES arising from any of the ff:
a. Fault or negligence
b. Quasi-contract or negotiorum gestio, solutio indebti, etc.
c. Contract
3. ENFORCEMENT of a barangay settlement or Arbitration award

a.

Involving a money claim covered in the rule

REQUIREMENT: FILING OF AN ACCOMPLISHED AND VERIFIED STATEMENT OF CLAIM


1. In duplicate
2. Accompanied by a CNF
3. 2 photocopies of actional documents
4. Affidavits of witnesses and other evidence
5. SOC available in office of the Clerk of Court
No evidence shall be admitted DURING the hearing which was NOT ATTACHED to or SUBMITTED TOGETHER with the
claim
>>>UNLESS, GOOD cause is shown
Joinder of separate small claims ALLOWED
Provided that the TOTAL AMOUNT does not exceed 100k
Claims may be field by Natural or Juridical Persons

Filing Fees
Whether juridical or natural person, plaintiff must pay FF
>>>EXCEPTION: when allowed to litigate as an indigent
If Motion to Litigate as an Indigent is DENIED = plaintiff has 5 days to pay the FF
Cannot pay = case dismissed; without prejudice to refiling
Service of Summons and Processes not included in exception
Indigent party also needs to pay
PROCEDURES:
1. Plaintiff files the claim with the filling fee (Statement of Claim)
2. Summons served to D
3. Notice of Hearing serviced to D an P
a. Sets date and time for hearing
4. Response
a. A.k.a. answer of D
b. Must be verified
c. Must be within 10 days
d. Interposes a counterclaim if any
i. If permissive = pay prescribed FF
ii. NOTE: NO DEFAULT JUDGMENT if there is failure to do so
1. D can still appear at the hearing
2. Court shall ascertain if he has a defense
iii. Effect of failure: D is not allowed to set up a COUNTERCALIM

No Lawyers
-

Hearing is off-limits to lawyers


Party needs assistance? = Court may allow a NON-LAWYER to assist with the partys consent
Rationale: Forms (pleadings, SOC, Response) are user-friendly, downloadable forms
o Filling in may be assisted by the Clerk of Court
o Judge serves as a lawyer for both parties

>>>Exception: to notarize the affidavits of witnesses to be attached to the SOC


Not included = inadmissible
Content of Affidavits
Facts of direct personal knowledge of the affiants
o Violation = inadmissible
Presence of parties at Hearing

Both parties must be present

Party may appear through a NON-LAWYER representative through a SPA


o SPA content:

Authorization to enter into an amicable settlement

To enter into stipulations of facts and of documentary exhibits


No need of requirement to submit to ADR
Rationale: In ADR, judge exerts efforts to bring parties to a settlement. In Small Claims, the judge is the lawyer
of both parties

Procedure of hearing
In nature of JDR
o Through M,C, ENE / other mode of JDR
Court is presided by a judge trained in JDR
o JDR fails = case shall be tried by another judge

Unless parties agree in writing to allow the judge who conducted JDR to try the case
Trial: informal and expeditious manner
o Terminated within 1 day

Effect of non-appearance = DISMISSAL of the claim without prejudice


a.

If P does not appear


a. D who appears shall be entitled to a judgment on a permissive counterclaim
i. But not a compulsory counterclaim

After hearing, court shall render its decision on the SAME DAY
In writing
Served on the parties
DECISION SHALL BE FINAL AND UNAPPEALABLE
Decision may be assailed in a Petition for Certiorari under Rule 65 (GAD)
Applies only to procedural matters
Jurisdiction is substantive, not procedural
SC rules cannot amend the Judiciary Reorganization enacted by Congress
- Power to define, prescribe, and apportion jurisdiction of various courts (except SC) is the Congress of the
Philippines