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To: Castro Atonen

JC-122 Pico La Trinidad, Benguet

11 February 2018

Dear A,

In this letter, I will provide you with my legal opinion and analysis so
you can make a qualified decision regarding the civil case you filed. I
will first restate the facts, as I know them, to confirm their accuracy.
Next, I will provide you with an explanation of the law as it applies in
your case, and lastly, give you my opinion on whether or not the
Regional Trial Court has jurisdiction over the disputed land which is
the subject of a civil case you initially filed.

According to the facts you told me, B encroached upon 100 m2 of your
property. The 100 m2 has an assessed value of five thousand pesos (P5,
000.00). On the other hand, your property has an area of 800 m2 with
an assessed value of forty thousand pesos (P40, 000.00). B’s property
however has an area of 300 m2 which has an assessed value of fifteen
thousand pesos (P15, 000.00). You mentioned that you filed the case
in the Regional Trial Court and the jurisdiction of which is questioned
by B because of the assessed value of the disputed area which should
be within the jurisdiction of the Municipal Trial Court. Thus, you now
have a dilemma of whether the Regional Trial Court has jurisdiction. I
am however confused as to the kind of action that you filed in the
Regional Trial Court since you did not specify. Nonetheless, I will
assume that this case involves an action other than physical possession
of real property.

Republic Act No. 76911 which amended Batas Pambansa Blg. 1292
expressly provides:

1
AN ACT EXPANDING THE JURISDICTION OF THE METROPOLITAN TRIAL COURTS, MUNICIPAL TRIAL
COURTS, AND MUNICIPAL CIRCUIT TRIAL COURTS, AMENDING FOR THE PURPOSE BATAS PAMBANSA BLG.
129, OTHERWISE KNOWN AS THE JUDICIARY REORGANIZATION ACT OF 1980

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JUDICIARY REORGANIZATION ACT OF 1980
SEC. 19. Jurisdiction in civil cases Regional Trial Courts shall exercise
exclusive original jurisdiction:

xxxx

(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 for forcible entry into and
unlawful detainer of lands or buildings, original jurisdiction over
which is conferred upon the Metropolitan Trial Courts, Municipal
Trial Courts, and Municipal Circuit Trial Courts.

xxxx

SEC. 33. Jurisdiction of Metropolitan Trial Courts, Municipal Trial


Courts and Municipal Circuit Trial Courts in Civil Cases. ---
Metropolitan Trial Courts, Municipal Trial Courts, and Municipal
Circuit Trial Courts shall exercise:

xxxx

(3) Exclusive original jurisdiction in all civil actions which involve title
to, or possession of , real property, or any interest therein where the
assessed value of the property or interest therein does not exceed
Twenty thousand pesos (P20,000.00) or, in civil actions in Metro
Manila, where such assessed value does not exceed Fifty thousand
pesos (P50,000.00) exclusive of interest, damages or whatever kind,
attorney's fees, litigation expenses and costs: Provided That in cases of
land not declared for taxation purposes, the value of such property
shall be determined by the assessed value of the adjacent lots.

In Quinagoran v. Court of Appeals3 the Supreme Court stated that:

In no uncertain terms, the Court has already held that a


complaint must allege the assessed value of the real property
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QUINAGORAN v. COURT OF APPEALS AND HEIRS OF JUAN DELA CRUZ, GR155179 (2007)
subject of the complaint or the interest thereon to determine
which court has jurisdiction over the action. This is because the
nature of the action and which court has original and exclusive
jurisdiction over the same is determined by the material
allegations of the complaint, the type of relief prayed for by the
plaintiff and the law in effect when the action is filed,
irrespective of whether the plaintiffs are entitled to some or all of
the claims asserted therein.

In Spouses Erorita v. Spouses Dumlao4, the Court explained that:

On the first issue, the allegations in the complaint determine the


nature of an action and jurisdiction over the case. Jurisdiction
does not depend on the complaint's caption. Nor is jurisdiction
changed by the defenses in the answer; otherwise, the defendant
may easily delay a case by raising other issues, then, claim lack
of jurisdiction.

Based on the foregoing laws and jurisprudence, the Regional Trial


Court has jurisdiction over the case, provided, you have alleged that
the assessed value of your property is forty thousand pesos (P40,
000.00). It is clear that jurisdiction is determined by the allegations in
the body of your complaint and the law in force the time you filed your
complaint. In your case, the law mandates that the Regional Trial
Court has exclusive jurisdiction 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). Since the assessed value of your property exceeds
the limit provided for by law, it is without doubt that the Regional
Trial Court has jurisdiction over your case.

B cannot also dictate which court should have jurisdiction over the
civil case you filed against him. As reiterated by the Supreme Court in
a long line of jurisprudence, jurisdiction cannot be made to depend
upon the defendant.

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SPOUSES ERORITA v. SPOUSES DUMLAO, GR 195477 (2016)
The success of your case relies on the allegations you stated in your
complaint.

Please do not hesitate to call me with any questions you may have.
Also, if there are any misstatements of fact in this letter it is important
that you contact me when possible. I hope you find the foregoing
helpful.

Most Sincerely,

Diane Blake Pachao