[Answer / discuss the question below. Or see 2014 bar exam Remedial Law Instructions; 2014 Remedial Law essay and multiple choice Questions: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28 and 29; See also 2014 Bar Exam: Information, Discussions, Tips, Questions and Results]
Estrella was the registered owner of a huge parcel of land located in a remote part of their barrio in Benguet. However, when she visited the property after she took a long vacation abroad, she was surprised to see that her childhood friend, John, had established a vacation house on her property. Both Estrella and John were residents of the same barangay.
To recover possession, Estrella filed a complaint for ejectment with the Municipal Trial Court (MTC), alleging that she is the true owner of the land as evidenced by her certificate of title and tax declaration which showed the assessed value of the property as P21,000.00. On the other hand, John refuted Estrella’s claim of ownership and submitted in evidence a Deed of Absolute Sale between him and Estrella. After the filing of John’s answer, the MTC observed that the real issue was one of ownership and not of possession. Hence, the MTC dismissed the complaint for lack of jurisdiction.
On appeal by Estrella to the Regional Trial Court (RTC), a full-blown trial was conducted as if the case was originally filed with it. The RTC reasoned that based on the assessed value of the property, it was the court of proper jurisdiction. Eventually, the RTC rendered a judgment declaring John as the owner of the land and, hence, entitled to the possession thereof. (4%)
(A) Was the MTC correct in dismissing the complaint for lack of jurisdiction? Why or why not?
(B) Was the RTC correct in ruling that based on the assessed value of the property, the case was within its original jurisdiction and, hence, it may conduct a full-blown trial of the appealed case as if it was originally filed with it? Why or why not?