FIRST SARMIENTO VS. PBCOM

G.R. No. 202836 : June 19 2018

Topic: Incapable of pecuniary estimation

Facts:

  • 2002, First Sarmiento obtained a P40M loan from PBCOM secured by a REM
  • First Sarmiento failed to pay the loan despite several demands.
  • 2006 PBCOM then filed a Petition for Extrajudicial Foreclosure of REM a recourse granted under the loan agreement.
  • 2011, First Sarmiento attempted to file a Complaint for annulment of REM. However, the clerk did not accept it because of failure to attach tax declarations which shall be used to assess the value of property
  • First Sarmiento filed an Urgent Motion to Consider the Value of Subject Matter of the Complaint as Not Capable of Pecuniary Estimation, and ruled that First Sarmiento’s action for annulment of real estate mortgage was incapable of pecuniary estimation.
  • 2012, First Sarmiento filed a Complaint for annulment of REM, with prayer for the issuance of TRO and preliminary injunction
  • In its Opposition (Re: Application for Issuance of Temporary Restraining Order), PBCOM asserted that RTC failed to acquire jurisdiction over First Sarmiento’s Complaint because the action for annulment of mortgage was a real action; thus, the filing fees filed should have been based on the fair market value of the mortgaged properties.
  • RTC dismissed complaint for lack of jurisdiction
  • First Sarmiento filed an MR, but RTC dismissed
  • 2012, First Sarmiento filed Petition for Review under Rule 45 (question of law), insisting that its Complaint for the annulment of real estate mortgage was incapable of pecuniary estimation.

ISSUE: WON RTC erred in ruling that Complaint for annulment of REM is one of pecuniary estimation?

HELD: Yes. RTC erred in ruling that Complaint for annulment of REM is one of pecuniary estimation.

  • Complaint for annulment of REM is NOT CAPABLE OF PECUNIARY ESTIMATION.
  • If the principal relief sought is not for the recovery of sum of money or real property, even if a claim over a sum of money or real property results as a consequence of the principal relief, the action is incapable of pecuniary estimation.
  • Here, the principal action of First Sarmiento is to annul the REM. It does not seek to recover a sum of money or real property.
  • Hence, it is incapable of pecuniary estimation. RTC has jurisdiction.
  • Case is ordered REMANDED to Branch 11, Regional Trial Court, City of Malolos, Bulacan for continued trial on First Sarmiento‚Äôs Complaint for annulment of real estate mortgage and its amendments.

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