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G.R. No.

181359 August 5, 2013


SPOUSES CLEMENCIO C. SABITSANA, JR. and MA. ROSARIO M.
SABITSANA, Petitioners,
vs.
JUANITO F. MUERTEGUI, represented by his Attorney-in-Fact DOMINGO A.
MUERTEGUI, JR., Respondent.
DEL CASTILLO, J.

Britanico, Nerie D.

SUMMARY OF FACTS:

In 1981, Alberto Garcia executed an unnotarized Deed of Sale in favor of respondent


Juanito Muertegui (Juanito) over a parcel of unregistered land. Juanito's father
Domingo Muertegui, Sr. (Domingo Sr.) and brother Domingo Jr. took actual
possession of the lot and planted thereon coconut and ipil-ipil trees. In 1991 Garcia
sold the same lot to the Muertegui family lawyer, petitioner Atty. Clemencio C.
Sabitsana, Jr. (Atty. Sabitsana), through a notarized deed of absolute sale.

When Respondents’ father passed away, the heirs applied for the registration
and coverage of the lot under Public Land Act. Petitioner opposed the application,
claiming as a true owner of the lot. Respondents filed for quieting of title and
preliminary injunction against petitioners Clemencio and his wife, Rosario, alleging
that they bought the land in bad faith and are exercising possession and ownership
of the same, which act thus constitute cloud over the title. Petitioners assert that the
RTC did not have jurisdiction over the case. They argue that since the assessed value
of the lot was a mere ₱1,230.00, jurisdiction over the case lies with the first level
courts.

RTC and CA ruled in favor of Respondents

ISSUE/S:

Whether or not RTC has jurisdiction over the case in view of the fact that the
assessed value of the land was only P1,230.

RESOLUTION OF ISSUE/S:

YES.

The Regional Trial Court has jurisdiction over the suit for quieting of title.

On the question of jurisdiction, it is clear under the Rules that an action for quieting
of title may be instituted in the RTCs, regardless of the assessed value of the real
property in dispute. Under Rule 63 of the Rules of Court, an action to quiet title to
real property or remove clouds therefrom may be brought in the appropriate RTC.

The Petition must be denied.


DOCTRINE:

In action for quieting or removal of cloud on a title, the plaintiff actually seeks
for a declaration of his rights. Hence, the action is one for declaratory relief, which
properly falls within the jurisdiction of the RTC pursuant to Rule 63 of the Rules of
Court.