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SPOUSES JOSELINA ALCANTARA AND ANTONIO ALCANTARA, and - even if Nido’s complaint is for recovery of possession or accion publiciana,

possession or accion publiciana, the


SPOUSES JOSEFINO RUBI AND ANNIE DISTOR- RUBI v BRIGIDA L. RTC still has no jurisdiction to decide the case. The complaint was filed on 11
NIDO, as attorney-in-fact of REVELEN N. SRIVASTAVA May 1994. By that time, RA7691 was already in effect. Said law took effect on 15
April 19, 2010 April 1994, 15 days after its publication in the Malaya and in the Time Journal on
CARPIO, J. 30 March 1994 pursuant to Sec. 8 of Republic Act No. 7691.
Petition for Review assailing the CA Decision Accordingly, Sec. 33 of BP129 was amended by RA7691 giving the MTC
Summary of Facts: the exclusive original jurisdiction over all civil actions involving title to, or
Revelen owns a 1939 sqm unregistered land - >Mom Nido sold 200sqm portion of possession of, real property, or any interest therein where the assessed value of the
the lot to Sps Alcantara and Sps Rubi. The Sps, though, defaulted on their property or interest therein does not exceed P20,000 or, in civil actions in Metro
installment payments. Nido, acting as administrator and attorney-in-fact of Manila, where such assessed value does not exceed P50,000, exclusive of interest,
Revelen, filed a complaint for recovery of possession with damages and prayer for damages of whatever kind, attorney’s fees, litigation expenses and costs.
preliminary injunction against the 2 Sps with the RTC. At bench, the complaint alleges that the whole 1,939- square meter lot of
---------------------------- Revelen N. Srivastava is covered by Tax Declaration No. 09-0742 which gives its
FACTS assessed value of the whole lot of P4,890.00. Such assessed value falls within the
Revelen, who is R Brigada Nido’s daughter, is the owner of an unregistered land exclusive original prerogative or jurisdiction of the first level court and, therefore,
with an area of 1,939 sqm located in Cardona, Rizal. Sometime in March 1984, the RTC a quo has no jurisdiction to try and decided the same.
Nido accepted the offer of Sps Alcantara and Sps Rubi to purchase a 200-sqm - Nido, as Revelen’s agent, did not have a written authority to enter into such
portion of Revelen’s lot at P200 per sqm. Both Sps paid P3k DP and the balance contract of sale; hence, the contract entered into between the parties is void. A void
was payable on installment. They then constructed their houses in 1985. In 1986, contract creates no rights or obligations or any juridical relations. Therefore, the
with Nido’s consent, they occupied an additional 150 sqm of the lot. By 1987, the void contract cannot be the subject of rescission.
Sps had already paid P17,500 before they defaulted on their installment payments.
Aggrieved by the CA Decision, the Sps elevated the case before the SC.
On 11 May 1994, Nido, acting as administrator and attorney-in-fact of Revelen, --------------------------------------
filed a complaint for recovery of possession with damages and prayer for Sps Alcantara and Sps Rubi’s Position:
preliminary injunction against the 2 Sps with the RTC. The sale of land by an agent who has no written authority is not void but merely
voidable given the spirit and intent of the law. Being only voidable, the contract
RTC ruled in favor of Nido, and ordered the rescission of the CTS. may be ratified, expressly or impliedly. Since the contract to sell was sufficiently
- based on the evidence presented, Revelen owns the lot and Nido was verbally established through Nido’s admission during the pre-trial conference, CA should
authorized to sell 200 sqm to the Sps. Since Nido’s authority to sell the land was have ruled on the matter of the counterclaim for specific performance.
not in writing, the sale was void under A1874 of the Civil Code.
Nido’s Position:
The Sps appealed. CA reversed the RTC decision and dismissed the civil case. CA cannot lawfully rule on the Ps’ counterclaim because there is nothing in the
- the case is an unlawful detainer case. The prayer in the complaint and amended records to sustain their claim that they have fully paid the price of the lot. Ps
complaint was for recovery of possession and the case was filed within one year admitted the lack of written authority to sell.
from the last demand letter. Even if the complaint involves a question of
ownership, it does not deprive the MTC of its jurisdiction over the ejectment case. Also, there was clearly no meeting of the minds between the parties on the
The Sps raised the issue of lack of jurisdiction in their MD and Answer before the purported contract of sale.
RTC. The RTC denied the MD and assumed jurisdiction over the case because the ------------------------------------------
issues pertain to a determination of the real agreement between the parties and WON the CTS is void.
rescission of the contract to sell the property. Held: Yes.
Articles 1874 and 1878 of the Civil Code provide:
Art. 1874. When a sale of a piece of land or any interest therein is through an
agent, the authority of the latter shall be in writing; otherwise, the sale shall be Further, Article 1318 of the Civil Code enumerates the requisites for a valid
void. contract, namely:
1. consent of the contracting parties;
Art. 1878. Special powers of attorney are necessary in the following cases: 2. object certain which is the subject matter of the contract;
xxx 3. cause of the obligation which is established.
(5) To enter into any contract by which the ownership of an immovable is
transmitted or acquired either gratuitously or for a valuable consideration; Nido did not have the written authority to enter into a contract to sell the lot. As
xxx the consent of Revelen, the real owner of the lot, was not obtained in writing as
A1874 of the Civil Code explicitly requires a written authority before an agent can required by law, no contract was perfected. Consequently, the Sps failed to validly
sell an immovable property. Based on a review of the records, there is absolutely acquire the lot.
no proof of Nido’s written authority to sell the lot to the Sps. In fact, during the
pre-trial conference, they admitted that at the time of the negotiation for the sale of General Power of Attorney
the lot, they were of the belief that Nido was the owner of lot. They only knew that On 25 March 1994, Revelen executed a General Power of Attorney constituting
Revelen was the owner of the lot during the hearing of this case. Consequently, the Nido as her attorney-in-fact and authorizing her to enter into any and all contracts
sale of the lot by Nido who did not have a written authority from Revelen is void. and agreements on Revelen’s behalf. The General Power of Attorney was
A void contract produces no effect either against or in favor of anyone and cannot notarized by Larry A. Reid, Notary Public in California, U.S.A.
be ratified.
Unfortunately, the General Power of Attorney presented as Exhibit C in the RTC
A special power of attorney is also necessary to enter into any contract by which cannot also be the basis of Nido’s written authority to sell the lot.
the ownership of an immovable is transmitted or acquired for a valuable
consideration. Without an authority in writing, Nido cannot validly sell the lot to Section 25, Rule 132 of the Rules of Court provides:
the Sps. Hence, any sale in favor of the petitioners is void. Sec. 25. Proof of public or official record. An official record or an entry therein,
when admissible for any purpose, may be evidenced by an official publication
Our ruling in Dizon v. Court of Appeals is instructive: thereof or by a copy attested by the officer having the legal custody of the record,
or by his deputy, and accompanied, if the record is not kept in the Philippines, with
When the sale of a piece of land or any interest thereon is through an agent, the a certificate that such officer has the custody. If the office in which the record is
authority of the latter shall be in writing; otherwise, the sale shall be void. Thus kept is in a foreign country, the certificate may be made by a secretary of embassy
the authority of an agent to execute a contract for the sale of real estate must be or legation consul general, consul, vice consul, or consular agent or by any officer
conferred in writing and must give him specific authority, either to conduct the in the foreign service of the Philippines stationed in the foreign country in which
general business of the principal or to execute a binding contract containing terms the record is kept, and authenticated by the seal of his office.
and conditions which are in the contract he did execute. A special power of
attorney is necessary to enter into any contract by which the ownership of an In Teoco v. Metropolitan Bank and Trust Company, quoting Lopez v. Court of
immovable is transmitted or acquired either gratuitously or for a valuable Appeals, we explained:
consideration. The express mandate required by law to enable an appointee of an
agency (couched) in general terms to sell must be one that expressly mentions a From the foregoing provision, when the special power of attorney is executed and
sale or that includes a sale as a necessary ingredient of the act mentioned. For the acknowledged before a notary public or other competent official in a foreign
principal to confer the right upon an agent to sell real estate, a power of attorney country, it cannot be admitted in evidence unless it is certified as such in
must so express the powers of the agent in clear and unmistakable language. When accordance with the foregoing provision of the rules by a secretary of embassy or
there is any reasonable doubt that the language so used conveys such power, no legation, consul general, consul, vice consul, or consular agent or by any officer in
such construction shall be given the document. the foreign service of the Philippines stationed in the foreign country in which the
record is kept of said public document and authenticated by the seal of his office. A
city judge-notary who notarized the document, as in this case, cannot issue such Assessed value is understood to be the worth or value of property established by
certification. taxing authorities on the basis of which the tax rate is applied. Commonly,
however, it does not represent the true or market value of the property.
Since the General Power of Attorney was executed and acknowledged in the
United States of America, it cannot be admitted in evidence unless it is certified as The appellate court correctly ruled that even if the complaint filed with the RTC
such in accordance with the Rules of Court by an officer in the foreign service of involves a question of ownership, the MTC still has jurisdiction because the
the Philippines stationed in the United States of America. Hence, this document assessed value of the whole lot as stated in Tax Declaration No. 09-0742 is P4,890.
has no probative value. The MTC cannot be deprived of jurisdiction over an ejectment case based merely
on the assertion of ownership over the litigated property, and the underlying reason
Specific Performance for this rule is to prevent any party from trifling with the summary nature of an
The Sps are not entitled to claim for specific performance. It must be stressed that ejectment suit.
when specific performance is sought of a contract made with an agent, the agency
must be established by clear, certain and specific proof. To reiterate, there is a The general rule is that dismissal of a case for lack of jurisdiction may be raised at
clear absence of proof that Revelen authorized Nido to sell her lot. any stage of the proceedings since jurisdiction is conferred by law. The lack of
jurisdiction affects the very authority of the court to take cognizance of and to
WON the RTC has jurisdiction over the case. render judgment on the action; otherwise, the inevitable consequence would make
Held: No. the court’s decision a lawless thing. Since the RTC has no jurisdiction over the
S33 of BP129, as amended by Republic Act No. 7691 provides: complaint filed, all the proceedings as well as the Decision of 17 June 2002 are
Section 33. Jurisdiction of Metropolitan Trial Courts, Municipal Trial Courts and void. The complaint should perforce be dismissed.
Municipal Circuit Trial Courts in Civil Cases. Metropolitan Trial Courts,
Municipal Trial Courts and Municipal Circuit Trial Courts shall exercise: WHEREFORE, we DENY the petition. We AFFIRM the Decision and Resolution
xxx of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CV No. 78215.
(3) Exclusive original jurisdiction in all civil actions which involve title to,
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:
xxx

In Geonzon Vda. de Barrera v. Heirs of Vicente Legaspi, the Court explained:


Before the amendments introduced by RA7691, the plenary action of accion
publiciana was to be brought before the RTC. With the modifications introduced
by RA7691 in 1994, the jurisdiction of the first level courts has been expanded to
include jurisdiction over other real actions where the assessed value does not
exceed P20,000, P50,000 where the action is filed in Metro Manila. The first level
courts thus have exclusive original jurisdiction over accion publiciana and accion
reivindicatoria where the assessed value of the real property does not exceed the
aforestated amounts. Accordingly, the jurisdictional element is the assessed value
of the property.