BF CITILAND CORPORATION, PETITIONER, VS. MARILYN B. OTAKE, RESPONDENT. G.R. No. 173351, July 29, 2010.
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Under Batas Pambansa Blg. 129, otherwise known as the Judiciary Reorganization Act of 1980, the plenary action of accion publiciana must be brought before regional trial courts.4 With the modifications introduced by Republic Act No. 7691, the jurisdiction of regional trial courts has been limited to real actions where the assessed value exceeds P20,000.00 or P50,000.00 if the action is filed in Metro Manila. If the assessed value is below the said amounts, the action must be brought before first level courts. As so amended, BP 129 now provides:
Sec. 33. Jurisdiction of Metropolitan Trial Courts, Municipal Trial Courts, and Municipal Circuit Trial Courts in Civil Cases. – Metropolitan Trial Courts, Municipal Trial Courts, and Municipal Circuit Trial Courts shall exercise:
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(3) Exclusive original jurisdiction in all civil actions which involve title to, or 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: Provided, That in cases of land not declared for taxation purposes, the value of such property shall be determined by the assessed value of the adjacent lots. (Emphasis supplied)
Under BP 129, as amended, jurisdiction even in accion publiciana cases is determined by the assessed value of the property.5 The Court recently explained inSpouses Alcantara v. Nido6 that assessed value is the worth or value of the property as fixed by the taxing authorities for the purpose of determining the applicable tax rate. The assessed value does not necessarily represent the true or market value of the property.7
In the present case, the complaint,8 which was filed after the enactment of R.A. 7691, contained a statement that, based on the tax declaration9 filed in the Office of the Assessor, the lot subject of the accion publiciana has an assessed value of P48,000.00. A copy of the tax declaration was attached as Annex “B” of the complaint. The subject lot, with an assessed value below the jurisdictional limit of P50,000.00 for Metro Manila, comes within the exclusive original jurisdiction of the MeTC under BP 129, as amended. Thus, the RTC erred in holding that the MeTC had no jurisdiction in this case.
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