2016 (Remedial Law) Bar Exam Questions: Question 19

[Answer/discuss the question below, or see 2016 bar exam Remedial Law Instructions; 2016 Mercantile Law questions: 12345678910111213141516171819 and 20; See also 2016 Bar Exam: Information, Discussions, Tips, Questions and Results]


Tristan filed a suit with the RTC of Pasay against Arthur King and/or Estate of Arthur King for reconveyance of a lot declared in the name of Arthur King under TCT No. 1234. The complaint alleged that “on account Arthur King’s residence abroad up to the present and the uncertainty of whether he is still alive or dead, he or his estate may be served with summons by publication.” Summons was published and nobody filed any responsive pleading within sixty (60) days therefrom. Upon motion, defendants were declared in default and judgment was rendered declaring Tristan as legal owner and ordering defendants to reconvey said lot to Tristan.

Jojo, the court-designated administrator of Arthur King’s estate, filed a petition for annulment of judgment before the CA praying that the decision in favor of Tristan be declared null and void for lack of jurisdiction. He claims that the action filed by Tristan is an action in personam and that the court did not acquire jurisdiction over defendants Arthur King and/or his estate. On the other hand, Tristan claims that the suit is an action in rem or at least an action quasi in rem. Is the RTC judge correct in ordering service of summons by publication? Explain. (5%)

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