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ASCUE v CA (ANTONIO)

GR No. 84330
Padilla; May 8, 1991

NATURE
Petition for review on certiorari

FACTS
- Private respondents Ramon Antonio, Salvador Salenga and Ulipia Fernandez (lessees) filed a complaint with the MetroTC alleging
that petitioner Ascue (lessor) refused to collect their rentals. Hence, they sought consignation of the payments with the MetroTC.
- Ascue filed a motion to dismiss complaint on the ground that it is the RTC not MTC which has jurisdiction over consignation cases,
the subject matter of litigation being incapable of pecuniary estimation. The MetroTC denied Ascue’s motion to dismiss and held that
the inferior court had jurisdiction since the consigned amount was P5,625 (well below 20K).
- Ascue later appealed to the RTC but the same dismissed the appeal for being premature. Ascue brought the case to the SC on
direct appeal but the case was referred back to the CA. The CA then dismissed the petition and ruled that the jurisdiction of a court
in consignation cases depends on the amount consigned, consignation being merely a form of payment and the opposite of a
demand by a creditor for payment.

ISSUE
WON the CA erred in holding that consignation cases fall within the jurisdiction of the MetroTC and that the amount consigned
determines said jurisdiction

HELD
No.
Ratio In valid consignation cases, where the thing sought to be deposited is a sum of money, the amount of debt due is
determinable, hence, the subject matter is capable of pecuniary estimation. This amount sought to be consigned then determines
the jurisdiction of the court.
Reasoning petitioner is of the belief that it is the RTC, not the MTC, which has jurisdiction over the case, inasmuch as the subject
matter of litigation (the amount to be consigned) is incapable of pecuniary estimation. This is wrong. Consignation is the act of
depositing the thing due with the court or judicial authorities whenever the creditor cannot accept or refuses to accept payment and
it generally requires a prior tender of payment. Two of the requisites of it valid consignation are (1) that there is a debt due. and (2)
the amount is placed it the disposal of the court. Thus, where no debt is due and owing, consignation is not proper. In a valid
consignation where the thing sought to be deposited is a sum of money, the amount of the debt due is determinable. Clearly, the
subject matter (i.e., the amount due) in consignation cases is capable of pecuniary estimation. This amount sought to be consigned
determines the jurisdiction of the court.
- In the case at bar. the amount consigned being P5,625.00, the respondent metropolitan trial court correctly assumed jurisdiction
over the same in accordance with Section 33(1) of BP Blg. 129.
Disposition Petition DENIED. CA decision AFFIRMED.