Question: In a case of quieting of title, which court exercises jurisdiction?
Answer: It depends.
Determine the assessed value of the land involved.
The governing law is Republic Act No. 7691, entitled “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”
Take note of the expansion of the jurisdiction of Metropolitan / Municipal Trial Courts and circuit trial courts.
Section 3 of Republic Act No. 7691 states:
“Section 3. Section 33 of the same law is hereby amended to read as follows: Section 1 of R.A. 7691 states:
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:
"(1) Exclusive original jurisdiction over civil actions and probate proceedings, testate and intestate, including the grant of provisional remedies in proper cases, where the value of the personal property, estate, or amount of the demand does not exceed One hundred thousand pesos (P100,000.00) or, in Metro Manila where such personal property, estate, or amount of the demand does not exceed Two hundred thousand pesos (P200,000.00), exclusive of interest, damages of whatever kind, attorney's fees, litigation expenses, and costs, the amount of which must be specifically alleged: Provided, That interest, damages of whatever kind, attorney's fees, litigation expenses, and costs shall be included in the determination of the filing fees: Provided, further, That where there are several claims or causes of actions between the same or different parties, embodied in the same complaint, the amount of the demand shall be the totality of the claims in all the causes of action, irrespective of whether the causes of action arose out of the same or different transactions;
"(2) Exclusive original jurisdiction over cases of forcible entry and unlawful detainer: Provided, That when, in such cases, the defendant raises the questions of ownership in his pleadings and the question of possession cannot be resolved without deciding the issue of ownership, the issue of ownership shall be resolved only to determine the issue of possession; and
"(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 of 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."
It is clear that the assessed value of the property involve is a determining factor in matters of jurisdiction.
So that if you file a case of quieting of title in the municipality of Daanbantayan, where the assessed value indicated in the tax declaration is P1,250, then the municipal circuit trial court of Daanbantayan exercises jurisdiction.
If the old law were to be followed, there would have been a different result.
Batas Pambansa Blg. 129, Section 19 stated:
“Section 19. Jurisdiction in Civil Cases. — Regional Trial Courts shall exercise exclusive original jurisdiction:
(1) In all civil actions in which the subject of the litigation is incapable of pecuniary estimation;
(2) In all civil actions which involve the title to, or possession of, real property, or any interest therein, except actions for forcible entry into and unlawful detainer of lands or buildings, original jurisdiction over which is conferred upon Metropolitan Trial Courts, Municipal Trial Courts, and Municipal Circuit Trial Courts;”
Under the old law, in any kind of civil action involving real property, jurisdiction unqualifiedly would have been with the Regional Trial Court.
Now, one has to qualify and determine first the assessed value of the property involved.
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