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Heirs of Bautista V Lindo  The course of action is to enforce his right to repurchase the lots he formerly

Topic: Incapable of Pecuniary Estimation owned pursuant to the right of a free-patent holder under Sec. 119 of CA 141
or the Public Land Act.
Facts:  The complaint to redeem a land subject of a free patent is a civil action
 Petition is a Petition for Review on Certiorari under Rule 45 aassailing the incapable of pecuniary estimation.
April 25, 2013 Order of the Regional Trial Court (RTC). o The allegations in the complaint and the character of the relief
 Alfredo R. Bautista (Bautista), petitioner’s predecessor, inherited in 1983 a sought determines jurisdiction of the court.
free-patent and sold it to several vendees, herein respondents  In Russell v. Vestil, wrote that in determining whether an
o Three years after the sale, Bautista filed a complaint for repurchase action is one the subject matter of which is not capable of
against respondents before the RTC anchoring his cause of action pecuniary estimation this Court has adopted the criterion
on Section 119 of Commonwealth Act No. (CA) 141 (Public Land of first ascertaining the nature of the principal action or
Act). remedy sought.
o Bautista died and was substituted by petitioner Epifania G. Bautista o The recovery of a sum of money capable of pecuniary estimation,
(Epifania). something other than the right to recover a sum of money, where
 Respondents Francisco and Welhilmina Lindo later entered into a the money claim is purely incidental to, or a consequence of, the
compromise agreement with petitioners, whereby they agreed to cede to principal relief sought, this Court has considered such actions as
Epifania a three thousand two hundred and thirty square meter (3,230 cases where the subject of the litigation may not be estimated in
sq.m.)-portion. terms of money, and, hence, are incapable of pecuniary estimation.
o Respondents, however, filed a Motion to Dismiss alleging that the  Settled jurisprudence considers some civil actions as incapable of pecuniary
complaint failed to state the value of the property sought to be estimation:
recovered that the total selling price of all the properties is only 1. Actions for specific performance;
sixteen thousand five hundred pesos PhP16,500), and selling price 2. Actions for support which will require the
or market value of a property is always higher than its assessed determination of the civil status;
value. 3. The right to support of the plaintiff;
o Since jurisdiction to the RTCs over civil actions involving title to or 4. Those for the annulment of decisions of lower courts;
possession of real property or interest therein where the assessed 5. Those for the rescission or reformation of contracts;
value is more than PhP20,000, then the RTC has no jurisdiction 6. Interpretation of a contractual stipulation is one for specific
over the complaint in question since the property which performance.
Bautista seeks to repurchase is below the PhP20,000  In this case, the instant cause of action to redeem the land is one for specific
jurisdictional ceiling. performance incapable of pecuniary estimation and cognizable by the RTC.
 RTC issued the assailed order dismissing the complaint for lack of  While the deeds of sale do not explicitly contain the stipulation that the sale
jurisdiction since Bautista failed to allege in his complaint that the value of is subject to repurchase by the applicant within a period of five (5) years from
his property exceeds 20k. the date of conveyance pursuant to Sec. 119 of CA 141, still, such legal
o What was only stated therein was that the total and full refund of provision is deemed integrated and made part of the deed of sale as
the purchase price of the property is PhP16,500. This omission was prescribed by law. He filed a complaint to enforce his right granted by law to
considered fatal by RTC considering that in real actions, recover the lot subject of free patent.
jurisdictional amount is determinative of whether it is the municipal  The reconveyance of the title to petitioners is solely dependent on the
trial court or the RTC that has jurisdiction over the case. exercise of such right to repurchase the lots in question and is not the
o WRT the belated filing of the motion, the a motion to dismiss for principal or main relief or remedy sought.
lack of jurisdiction may be filed at any stage of the proceedings,  Moreover, respondents have actually participated in the proceedings before
even on appeal, and is not lost by waiver or by estoppel the RTC and aggressively defended their position, and by virtue of which
 MR denied. they are already barred to question the jurisdiction of the RTC of jurisdiction
Issue: W/N RTC erred in granting the motion for the dismissal of the case on the by estoppel. the RTC’s authority by asking for affirmative reliefs,
ground of lack of jurisdiction over the subject matter? NO respondents can no longer assail the jurisdiction of the said trial court.
 The petitioner’s allege that an action for repurchase is not a real action, but
one incapable of pecuniary estimation, on privity of contract between the RULING: WHEREFORE, premises considered, the instant petition is hereby
parties, it being founded on the enforcement of their right to repurchase the GRANTED. The April 25, 2013 and July 3, 2013 Orders of the Regional Trial
subject property under Section 119 of CA 141. Court in Civil Case No. (1798)-021 are hereby REVERSED and SET ASIDE.
 Respondents argue that repurchase is a real action capable of pecuniary
estimation.