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INFANTE v. ARAN BUILDERS, INC.

August 24, 2007 | Austria-Martinez, J. | Venue Stipulations


Digester: Venturanza, Maria Q.
SUMMARY: Respondent filed an action for revival of judgment
before the RTC of Muntinlupa City against petitioner. The
judgment sought to be reversed was rendered by the RTC of
Makati, which declared respondent's right to have the title over a
disputed property conveyed to it. Petitioner filed a motion to
dismiss the action for revival of judgment, alleging that the said
action was a personal action, and thus, must be filed where the
plaintiff or defendant lives. The SC ruled that the said action was a
real action for it affects respondent's interest over real property.
Thus, the action was correctly filed in the RTC of Muntinlupa City,
where the disputed property was located.
DOCTRINE: If the action for revival of judgment affects title to or
possession of real property, or interest therein, then it is a real
action that must be filed with the court of the place where the real
property is located. If such action does not fall under the category
of real actions, it is then a personal action that may be filed with
the court of the place where the plaintiff or defendant resides.
ACTION: Petition for Review on Certiorari under Rule 45 of the
Rules of Court
FACTS:
Respondent Aran Builders, Inc. filed an action for revival of
judgment before the RTC of Muntinlupa City against petitioner
Adelaida Infante. The judgment sought to be revived was
rendered by the RTC of Makati City in an action for specific
performance and damages, which decreed petitioner to
execute a deed of sale over a parcel of land in Ayala
Alabang Subdivision in favor of respondent; pay all
pertinent taxes in connection with said sale; register the
deed of sale with the Registry of Deeds and deliver to
Ayala Corporation the certificate of title issued in the
name of respondent.
Petitioner filed a motion to dismiss the action (for revival of
judgment) on the grounds that the Muntinlupa RTC has no
jurisdiction over the persons of the parties and that venue was
improperly laid.
RTC (Muntinlupa): Denied the motion to dismiss, saying that at
the time the first decision was rendered by the Makati RTC,
there was still no RTC in Muntinlupa City. The cases from

Muntinlupa were then tried and heard in Makati. However,


with the creation of the RTC of Muntinlupa, matters involving
properties within the said city were now to be litigated there.
CA: Ruled in favor of respondent. Since the judgment sought to
be revived was rendered in an action involving title to or
possession of real property, or interest therein, the action for
revival of judgment is then an action in rem which should be
filed with the RTC of the place where the real property is
located. The MR subsequently filed by petitioner was also
denied.
Petitioners argument: The action for revival of judgment is an
action in personam; therefore, the complaint should be filed
with the RTC of the place where either party lived.

RULING: Petition denied.


Whether the present action for revival of judgment is a real
action or a personal action REAL.
The proper venue depends on the determination of whether the
present action for revival of judgment is a real action or a
personal action.
Under the present Rules of Court, Sections 1 and 2 of Rule 4
provide:
Section 1. Venue of real actions. - Actions affecting title to or possession of
real property, or interest therein, shall be commenced and tried in the proper
court which has jurisdiction over the area wherein the real property involved,
or a portion thereof, is situated.
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Section 2. Venue of personal actions. - All other actions may be commenced
and tried where the plaintiff or any of the principal plaintiffs resides, or where
the defendant or any of the principal defendants resides, or in the case of a
non- resident defendant where he may be found, at the election of the plaintiff.

Applying the afore-quoted rules on venue, if the action for


revival of judgment affects title to or possession of real
property, or interest therein, then it is a real action that must
be filed with the court of the place where the real property is
located. If such action does not fall under the category of real
actions, it is then a personal action that may be filed with the
court of the place where the plaintiff or defendant resides.
The allegations in the complaint for revival of judgment
determine whether it is a real action or a personal action (see
emphasized part of facts).
The previous judgment has conclusively declared respondent's
right to have the title over the disputed property conveyed to
it. Thus, it is undeniable that respondent has an established
interest over the lot in question; and to protect such right or

interest, respondent brought suit to revive the previous


judgment. The sole reason for the present action to revive is
the enforcement of respondent's adjudged rights over a piece
of realty. Verily, the action falls under the category of a real
action, for it affects respondent's interest over real property.
Whether the present case for revival of judgment should be
filed with the RTC of Muntinlupa City YES.
Batas Pambansa Bilang 129 provides:
Sec. 18. Authority to define territory appurtenant to each branch. - The
Supreme Court shall define the territory over which a branch of the Regional
Trial Court shall exercise its authority. The territory thus defined shall be

deemed to be the territorial area of the branch concerned for purposes of


determining the venue of all suits, proceedings or actions

Thus, a branch of the Regional Trial Court shall exercise its


authority only over a particular territory defined by the
Supreme Court.
Originally, Muntinlupa City was under the territorial
jurisdiction of the Makati Courts. However, Section 4 of
Republic Act No. 7154 provided for the creation of a branch of
the RTC in Muntinlupa. Thus, it is now the RTC in Muntinlupa
City, which has territorial jurisdiction or authority to validly
issue orders and processes concerning real property within
Muntinlupa City.